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Commentary :: International
Belfast Calling
17 Oct 2005
Modified: 02:10:56 PM
As a black kid growing up in West Belfast in the 70's and 80' at the height of the war, it had an added impact to me as a child. The overt discrimination by the state drew therefore on both my religion as well as my colour and therefore made me, in their words, a Black fenian ****** as opposed to 'just being' a plain Fenian ******.

In an online living diary I account both for those times and my now activism presently, which will be of special interest to those interested in the conflict in Ireland.
As a child growing up in Belfast I had seen many faces from youth {through television, newspapers etc} that I now engage with through debate and discussion as an adult. Indeed from the now leadership of Republicanism to the leaderships of Loyalism I have either shared platforms, television studios or sat across tables from them on many an issue. May it have been sharing a cab back to West Belfast with Danny Morrison, after we had both participated in a BBC Sunday programme on Religion and its attitude to Racism, or sharing a debating platform with Billy Hutchinson {PUP} on the 11 plus and its effect on working class kids, at their conference. Each where situations in which debate and dialogue where essential to either bring an important issue to a wider audience, or to a particular constituency.

Similar, but in a context of resolution, I had sat across the table at specific times from Loyalism’s Combined Leadership through to, in part, engaging with leaders of Unionism from David Trimble to {much earlier in my activism} that of Ian Paisley Junior. Again criticism from some aspects of the left was forwarded, this at specific times. Yet I have found that ‘real politick’ is essential, and not what I term as ‘formula politics’, more especially within Irish politics given our recent history.

For me such real politick has given me a growing understanding not only of the history of our recent conflict and those involved within it, but of a wider world and its history. Yet with that real politick I still can see through the eyes of a socialist, both local and global.

And so with that, I had been spokesperson of the Belfast Anti War Movement against the Iraq war, which seen the largest demonstration in the North History against such a war, where tens of thousands came out onto the North’s Streets in demonstration and direct actions etc. I then was founding member and Chairperson of what became known as the Anti Racism Network and Movement in which we mobilised thousands around Belfast against the attacks on the minority ethnic communities. This which seen pipe bomb attacks, shootings, pregnant Chinese women being dragged from their homes and attacked with bats and seeing broken glass smashed in their faces, and we had seen racist murder. Indeed such was the case, that Belfast was then called the Race Capital of Europe.

It then details the mass Anti Sectarian rallies and Anti Poverty rallies {in which I had again recorded, at the time, and from the position of being a key activist within such} - through to recording our travels from Belfast to the protests in Genoa through to Geneva and much more.

It also details the formation of the grassroots activists paper ‘Street Seen’

As an Internationalist and a grassroots activist I believe such actions and experiences should be shared for many a reason.

Grassroots Activist Newspaper, Street Seen Blog -

Diary Blog

It can be read in conjunction to this link I had written previous entitled - West Belfast Childhood and the Wars.-


This work is in the public domain