An Award-Winning Disclaimer

A charming little Magpie whispered this disclaimer into my ear, and I'm happy to regurgitate it into your sweet little mouth:

"Disclaimer: This blog is not responsible for those of you who start to laugh and piss your pants a little. Although this blogger understands the role he has played (in that, if you had not been laughing you may not have pissed yourself), he assumes no liability for damages caused and will not pay your dry cleaning bill.

These views represent the thoughts and opinions of a blogger clearly superior to yourself in every way. If you're in any way offended by any of the content on this blog, it is clearly not the blog for you. Kindly exit the page by clicking on the small 'x' you see at the top right of the screen, and go fuck yourself."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Little Seal

His name was Ronan.

It's Gaelic. It would be quite poetic if it meant "Lion," but that's Leo, or if it meant "Prince," but that's Brendan, or maybe even "noble," but Alain means "noble" if you're going by Gaelic. Perhaps it would be more appropriate if his name had been "Killian," for that means "strife," which is what we are left with today.

But, his mother Nuala ("exceptionally lovely"), deemed that this boy of hers be named Ronan, and it doesn't mean "strong protector" or "gallant hero" or even "fallen warrior." The name Ronan means "Little Seal," which, frankly, is what lots of babies resemble when they're fresh plucked from the womb, if we're to be honest with each other.

Yesterday, a little seal, barely a pup, was laid to rest in Northern Ireland. At twenty-five years old, he was the victim of a cowardice, hatred, and malice that has suddenly found itself quite out-of-fashion in a place where where such simmering, malevolent passions once flourished.

Ronan Kerr was a policeman with the PSNI, the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Once a totally Protestant police force known in the past for its lack of impartiality and acts of brutality, it is a changed police force, integrating Catholic and Protestant, English and Irish officers together in a sometimes rocky but forward-thinking and well-meaning partnership. Ronan Kerr had barely graduated from his training academy when he was killed, for being a Catholic, and being a cop. As he got into his personal vehicle, a bomb exploded, ripping him to pieces, and threatening equally to blow to bits the struggle create a more harmonious Ireland. Ronan Kerr was killed for doing his small part to try to prevent his country from descending into madness once again.

And, from the moment I heard the news on the radio, I held my breath-- for a repeat attack, for another sickening death, for more shrapnel and more flames-- more destruction. But nothing came.

And, as a brave baby seal was laid to rest yesterday, men stood together in mourning at the church, men who swore they'd never enter a Catholic church, much less to mourn the passing of a Catholic police officer. Protestants and Catholics united at a rally to show support for Ronan Kerr and for his family. First Minister Peter Robinson, the first Democratic Unionist Party official to ever attend a Catholic Mass was there. Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams were there.

Who would have believed it, twenty years ago? Or two?

The Cardinal presiding over the funeral made a passionate plea:

"Choose life, I say, choose goodness, choose peace. That is what God is asking of you. That is what the people of all traditions have been saying to all of us, loud and clear, since the moment of Ronan's tragic death on Saturday last - 'We do not want this. You do not act in our name.' In God's name stop - and stop now!"

Father John Skinnader told the mourners of seeing Ronan drive towards him in his patrol car just a week ago and it made him think, "there is the symbol of the new Northern Ireland."

There it was.

But perhaps even more than Ronan Kerr, looking smart in his uniform behind the wheel of his PSNI radio car, the symbol of the new Northern Ireland was the respect and dignity shown to Ronan Kerr's family and colleagues in the week following his murder. Perhaps this is the new future for us all.

And as Northern Ireland and indeed the world struggles to make sense of this tragedy, it is my hope that Ronan Kerr's family is comforted by the fact that this act was not treated as an act of patriotism by society at large, but as an act of barbarism. And that may seem like common sense to some, but for a country that has struggled so passionately for so long, that has had wound after wound reopened time and time again, for a people who have been hurt so many times, it is an act of grace that this terrible crime has been greeted by mostly respectful silence.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got something to say? Rock on with your badass apron!