20 Jul

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Derry Ireland Bloody SUnday March Feb 2 2003

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He lost me at Sam Powers, the name he called Obama’s nominee for ambassador of America to the United Nations, the woman who speaks with a forced deep voice. Her name is Samantha Powers. Not Same. He is hardly her friend or peer or colleague or friend. He, Josh Rogin was speaking on Washington Journal. Samantha Power had become soon enough, Sam, a bestie endearment for people who know each other a long time. Or a fan. Obama’s nominee for the UN to replace Susan Rice is a hottie, after all, and a red head. You know what men say about redheads, and redheads know what men want us to say about them.

Samantha Powers said in one interview she worked hard to leave her childhood behind, to lose her brogue, her Hibernian. That is telling.

America is a melting pot of immigrants people who come to leave something behind as they move forward to an uncharted future, for the most part. The thing about Irish is they don’t leave the motherland behind when they come to America. The Irish people I meet are not only proud of where they came from, the Motherland, they are proud of where they bring their Irish culture to. Much more than soda bread, corned beef, potatoes, Irish lace and dancing, they bring with one of the oldest ancestries on earth. And flaming red hair, too.

The Senators questioning Powers adressing her nominated role were in a love
fest with a stunning Irish woman whose carrot top toddler antics, in the family seats behind Mom. Had I been there taking snaps I would have taken the same photos too. And others as I have done.

I photographed the Bloody Sunday trials in Methodist Hall in London. I photographed back-to-back St. Patrick’s day celebrations in London and Dublin. I photographed walls in Northern Ireland that are now painted over. My photos are of questions the Senators did not ask Ms. P. My photos show the route of running of guns from Ireland to Florida. My photos show wall after wall of painted house size with anti Israel sentiment and PLO emblems, for those news activists with public microphones who forgot the anacronym- Palestine Liberation Organization. I heard those walls were whitewashed over, too. I photographed the first ever PLO flags in the annual Bloody Sunday march. Of course I sent the photos out to America. Problem is no one across the pond cared. Short of a celebrity short skirt or Nigella Dawson’s husband’s hands around her throat, day to day world impacting news rarely crosses the pond. what takes place on home doorsteps is what fills local papers firsts, that is, the few in-prints that struggle to survive. For that reality check reason, the Senatorial confirmation hearings of Ms Power are a fluff focused on what Senate staff read off the Internet.

Ms Powers formative years are not on the Internet. They are on the walls of Northern Ireland that I took, now, painted over, whitewashed over by foreign policy media activists like Josh Rogin who believe their role is NOT to journal what is taking place before them but to influence outcome with their written word. Rogin, a guest on Washington Journal, c-span, excused Ms Power from any influence from Northern Ireland citing she was raised in Dublin.

Rogin showed his age.

The distance between Northern Ireland and Dublin is 217 km, 217 miles. The distance of 216 miles is as close as the telly is from one’s nose is one is a child watching a show with news interruptions. Samantha Powers, the child 1-10, was impressionable to what she was fed by media, influencing her decision to become an interventionist activist writer in her career. It took me a quick second of asking the ‘magic internet’ “What took place in Northern Ireland thirty years ago.” It answered, “the kidnapping of Shergar, the Aga Kahn’s and racings most famous racehorse stabled in Ballymany. The syndicate of 34 owning the horse refused to cave in to the kidnappers feared to be the IRA. Rogin, news flash, Ballymany Stud Farm is in Co. Kildare, near enough outside of Dublin. Was it just this horse that happened 30 years ago? Thirty plus years ago, the Troubles were Bobby Sands was in Long Kesh prisons. 1972,  was Bloody Sunday, the trial that influenced the Irish, North and South. Fourteen Catholics out for a craic were gunned down by British troops in the city of Derry. No one asked Ms. Powers if she has ever been to Derry. I have. My pictures tell the Senate specifics of what remains on those walls to this day. I met Gerry Duddy. And his family. And the women who led the men stunted by the memory of seeing their friends gunned down around them. As for the young soldier beheaded a few months back in the streets of London in the name of Allah? What about asking about him? So, here you go Senate researchers and Rogin, READ before you write

Not one Senator in the love-fest for the foxy red head asked her of the influence of the IRA on her life,  about  Gerry Adams, Marty McGinnis, the Sinn Fein, pipe bombs, the Tribunals or the Queens troops and horses that were slaughtered. No one asked how she feels about the Queen and who Powers allies with- the Loyalists loyal to the queen or the other side of the Shankhill Road wall. My photo of Loyalist injustice changed legislation in Northern Ireland without intention. I was told my photo made me a folk legend for showcasing the long rumored Loyalist rite initiation. No one asked Sam Powers the trick question of what European historical site is influential in the role she wants to assume. She wont know it. I do. It is Methodist Central Hall where the Bloody Sunday Tribunals were held, nearby Parliament, near enough to the British War Rooms, a spot where  Mahat Magandi spoke years earlier about peaceful protest the model used, ironically, for the 1972 slaughter of Innocent Irish in  Derry.

No one asked ‘Sam’ about The Troubles back home because even if you come to America when you are ten, home is always going to be where you come from moreso when the activists then run Northern Irish government now. I, for one, will never forget my first meeting Gerrye Adams. For Samantha Powers it will always be Ireland whose brogue she worked very hard to lose, to fit in. Very clearly an Irish matriarch leading her clan, she named her son Declan, not Moshe in the culture of her husband. Ireland for those who aren’t familiar is a mother strong culture. I recall writing about the black dog with balls problem in Northern Ireland. Men owned black dogs they refused to neuter, psychologically understood as a way to hang on to their masculinity which for some had a price, a thousand pounds. Snip.

No one asked Ms Powers about what in America makes get proud of her motherland. Is it the strong history of Irish in America’s police force? Is it the culture of pubs and beer the Irish played a role in? Is it the Irishman who won a coveted role in Glee or on TMZ or on the
big screen? Samantha Mumba who few in America know about? Or is it Bono, the man who Wishes To Be President but he cant. No one asked how many times Ms Powers herself has gone to the Irish Memorial in Battery Park, lower New York or taken others including her son? No one asked of her Irish pride signatured all over the nations Capitol. No one asked if there is ONE outstanding Irish boast she has of working in the White House? Hands down I can tell you she would say Obama’s relationship to Henry the 8th Obama’s new found cousin after found 44’s Irish roots months before the critical presidential vote in 2007 just before 44’s landslide presidential win.

The answer Senate Research Committee is “Hobans, James.” Even if you didn’t know him a pub in DuPont Circle did. Hear you go, READ. The Irish architect who designed across America but whose ONE commission gave him eternity- James Hobans, the architect of the White House.

Are the right questions being asked if a woman who doesn’t use her husband’s last name? No. A good place to start before Powers is confirmed. Samantha Powers is the wife of Cass Sunstein. Here you go, read…. Wikipedia says “was Jewish” not is. Hitler said Jewish “is” three generations back. Susan Elizabeth Rice, Powers predecessor, also did not go by her husband’s name. Rice married Ian Officer Cameron. Got to say this about Hillary, publicity et al, she kept Bill’s last name. Like the men back home…. Snip.

As I said to Josh Rogin on the radio- the Irish Garda taught me one my most memorable lessons about terrorism and women. I had just witnessed tanks coming down streets  few miles outside of Dublin. This was 2003. The Garda said when they enter a room in conflict where a woman is one with the men, they take the woman out first. They fear the ruthlessness of a woman willing to die for her cause or her man.  

Fear Ms Powers?

Ask her the tough questions. Give her a split second to name Ten Things About Ireland to be proud of… Go… Now. You won’t hear her mention the women of Ireland, Hibernia, or Dan Donnelly. Nor will she mention her history wealthy in how America came to be its influences in every day law something I hope to write about someday. Shame.

Ask her what she’s done for the poor in Ireland the children that are dumped on Connell bridge. Ask her what she’s done to broker peace with the gypsies in Dublin and elsewhere that My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding shared the world of or if she considers them a problem too. Activism journalism, like charity, begins at home. After 30 years in the promised land, ask Ms Powers what she has done for the every day person in America.  

Marty? We talked at the Willard Hotel. Call me when you’re back for St Patty’s Day. I’ll tour you around DC showing you the Irish Sammy forgot. Maybe I belong in your government telling people how awesome Ireland is. Sammy seems to have forgot. If you cannot find her boasting of her pride in her of Irish roots BEFORE I tipped you off, then, my dear Senate Research Committee you have the writing on the wall as to how she moves forward- losing her homeland just like a chameleon changes its color, in her case her brogue.


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