economic downturn

Over our heads.

We are sliding away, apart and together at different moments. Our lives are being lived through websites and social networks and slowly we are running away from the realities of the world around us.

It is easier to create a life or persona you wish you had on facebook, twitter or tumblr. Around us the power and sheer force of the internet and media  is liberating nations and cultures but driving us in western society into a frenzy. Facebook’s shares continue to drop and world markets still resemble a storm in a tea cup surrounded by melting sugar lumps of utter confusion. Inside each of us is a desire for drama and entertainment which is being projected at us continually through reality television, western culture and our own political upheaval.

It is greatly forgotten by many who chose to forget easily that it was greed and disarray that has left the world in its current state, banking crisis in the US and property markets fluctuating, falling and failing triggered the situations we know face ourselves in.

It is ironic that it is trust in other nations markets and our own that binds us together, trust and lack of it, skeptical of each other and each others views and interests. There is no simple solution, if any, no fiscal treaty will sort the true problems of excessiveness,  greed and mistrust among a race that is unable to overcome these natural instincts and flaws.

We are who we are, and the only way from here has to be up. Winston Churchill said 58 years ago,

“I for one am an optimist , it does not seem much use to be anything else”

He might have a point there.

City of Dimming Lights and Economic Slumbers

Nyc, Paris, London, Tokyo, all centers of power, control, affluence and success to the casual observer but as the western world slips further into the mire of economic misery the lights are slowly dimming.
A city built on potential, ability and possibility is left wallowing in the worst employment crisis since the twenties.

Yet what we are seeing first hand is actually a leveling off at 8.9 per cent unemployment down from over 10 per cent only five months ago in January. The city that has propelled Bloomberg and Trump to success and Sinatra to Gaga is on its knees. While walking around the Lower East Side and even Soho a bleak neglected look is to be seen among people who hate the jobs they are stuck with seeing no way out.

Abandoned and boarded up retail spaces and shop sales 24/7 only further display a city whose divide between rich and poor is widening and widening. In a recent visit to a Social Security office the desperation of ordinary Americans trying to cope with their current economic situations was none more obvious. Single mothers, retired couples and unemployed men from all over the world lined up and argued their case in the hope of financial aid, with one man in question storming out in frustration.

Subway after subway is lined with the filthy rich standing side by side with begging and desperate homeless at a rate i have never seen before. Academics with Masters and entering Phd’s being rejected right left and center for jobs way beneath them in run down bars and half open t-shirt shops.

As hundreds of young people from across the world continue to flood to this city in the hope of prosperity and success the words of a local jean shop owner come to mind, “get out while you can, we wont be far behind’

Trees to Tension, The Irish Language 2011,

ogham writing

What started as lines and marks  on trees in the form of Ogham writing, became an official European Language on Jan 1st 2007 and now is on the verge of going in reverse. How would you gauge progress in a language that is all around us on sign posts and in media yet according to our most recent census only 80,000 people can speak it fluently out of a population of 6.1 million, that is a staggering 1.31 per cent!

The forcing of such evil horrors as the Tuisceal Ginideach and Modh Coinniollach on children from age 5 to 18 has always been a debated topic in the history of our little island, and if Fine Gael comes into power in the next few weeks, the reality is we might be able to cut 3 years of that linguistical hell off  but will we benefit as a people or are we losing something unique and valuable?

The inclusion of the language on the curriculum for decades  has led to Gaelscoileanna, TG4 and Sharon Ni Bheoilin, is this enough to merit its inclusion further; the longer we have had the language the less people we have had who can claim to speak it fluently! ironic or what, however those who  have partial Irish has increased due to the gaeltacht summer schools etc.  The reality is that maybe we should accept Scotland’s model and have it as an option for the leaving cert but keep it compulsory for primary school and junior cert, and those who truly love the language can take it for Leaving cert while others can focus on other subjects.

A recent article in the Irish Times let secondary school students voice their opinions and i also spoke to  number of these young adults and they were very clear in their message. We dont need it! we need to get jobs not to say Ciunas, Bothar, Cailin, Bainne! Many students feel the time dedicated to Irish could go into learning a further European or world language enabling them to gain further employment after or before college.

We need to ask ourselves the tough question though and say was Irish a true luxury of the Celtic Tiger years and now that we are broke we are cutting off our heritage! Maybe we are, maybe we are not, but no one should have to endure forced education that many dont enjoy and very few accept Daithi o Sea and Hector have benefited from.

Making the language sexy with Des Bishop hasn’t helped a considerable amount and although NUIG is a bilingual campus most students find the names of the building confusing and dont know what they mean or why they are called áras Blahhh and Aras this n that.

For those who love the language it should remain and be supported fully, for those who dont maybe we need to allow something else to be included on the leaving cert course, more important areas to be covered like enhanced Sexual Education, Improved Road Safety and First Aid or Drug and Alcahol awareness courses.

Dont bin the Gaeilge, Dont Shelve it! Its our Heritage and OUR language but maybe give the Optional leaving cert a run and if the Gaeltacht areas are being financially affected then look to further employment out there for those families in other areas that will benefit them and educate them in something new and exciting, we cant ever forget where we came from and our language is a huge part of our identity so Fine Gael dont Bin it but respect it and those who speak the words of  our generations.

James Mahon, Diploma in Irish, TEFAL/ESL