2016 was the year of two major events that would change two nations and the world as we knew it. In Britain, just over 50 percent of voters, in a referendum, voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The Vote Leave camp used blatant lies and fear as a tool to persuade people to their side, garnering huge media coverage with their divisive slogans and divisive characters. The Remain side lacked energy, slogans and the characters that would be required to rally the public to their side and keep Britain within the European Project. The main underlying problem for the remain campaign, was it’s refusal to accept how frustrated Britons had become at the EU and how years of austerity had created a hunger for change.
Europe has been rocked by the referendum in Britain and soon enough we will know if a deal is agreed in the House of Commons (British Parliament) as we await Theresa May to put the Brexit Agreement to a vote. An earlier vote was pulled in December 2018 as the Prime Minister did not have enough support within her own party or in Parliament to win. Britain will crash out of Europe on March 29th if a deal is not reached or an extension is not granted. A no deal scenario could be bad news for the European Union and other Global economies and even worst news for the Island of Ireland as a possible hard border could be erected, in breach of the good Friday agreement. The Good Friday Agreement brought peace to the island following decades of the violence in Northern Ireland. This period in Northern Ireland, known as The Troubles is extremely complicated and embedded in the history of those who live there.
On the other side of the pond, in the United States, Donald Trump was elected to the office of President. Trump had beaten Hilary Clinton. Clinton, simply as a name, is one of the most famous political names in the United States. The differences between Trump and Clinton are; Trump lacks the capabilities, knowledge, temperament and political experience that Clinton has. During the 2016 election, Trump lost the popular vote but The United States has a system in which the popular vote means nothing in terms of being elected, therefor Trump won the election because he won enough States which had the most electoral colleges. and reached the magic number of 270.
Trump has imposed tariffs on China and other goods from other nations. He had pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, rescinded on the Iran Nuclear Deal (The JCPOA) and continues to fire staff while also being under the spotlight of special Counsel Robert Mueller for collusion with Russia in the 2016 Presidential campaign. Trump and the Republican Party continue to undo much of what Barack Obama spent his 2 terms implementing. The only thing the Republicans stands for is nominating a sexual predator to the Supreme Court and undoing Obama policies, other than that, they have become the self serving party driving by deep ideology. On the other hand, the Democrats are in disarray, trying to understand themselves and what the heck they represent. The Democrats, like Labour in the UK are divided between the new era of left wing politics as a challenge to the far right and the old centre ground politics that Hilary Clinton and Tony Blair represented. The sooner the Democrats get their house in order the sooner they can be effective in the House of Representatives.
2019 will be a year in which the pendulum swings back, how far? only time will tell. The fight against nationalism and far right extremism is building as the resurgence of a united liberal front is taking place around the globe.
By Jonathan Myers.
Donald Trump has suggested that he now believes the United States should begin unilateral action, not only against North Korea but possibly against Bashar Al Assad following more despicable chemical attacks in Syria. What we are beginning to see are nations acting in self interest. Russia in Ukraine may be one example.
Trump today said that the chemical attack in Syria crossed “many lines” in response to a reporters question which had a reference to Obama’s red line in 2013. He failed to offer any real details on the possible unilateral action the United States would take but his comments have set the US up in such a way that action is now required and expected.
The conflict in Syria will never end unless someone steps in and finds a way to bring it to an end. Civilian deaths should no longer be accepted and safe zones should now be established and protected with no fly zones. Full access given to the United Nations to give the necessary care to the population. A ceasefire should be implemented with areas of influence remaining for a short time until dialogue can be agreed by those involved. The removal of Assad and the establishment of a cooperation council which should include Assad forces and the moderate opposition but not limited to them. An end to the blood shed should be priority number 1 from today. Too many have suffered and a stable middle east is in the interest of everyone.
Well it’s been a long time since my last update.
The work below is from my current work at college. I started by reading about the Syrian conflict and the lack of material in the the newspapers here in Ireland. I began by looking to build a structure to display the articles I found in relation Syria and the refugees. I looked at structures in Syria so that the structure I build has some relation to the place I want to talk about.
Below is a Syrian Beehive house.
With this structure, I began to try and create my own. Rather than just just build a similar one I decided to use the news articles as the building material. Below is a trial and error version of a beehive home built from newspaper.
I used basic garden rope to hang the structure and create a frame for which I could build on. After this, I began to look at other structures from an origami book (the use of paper lead me here). The tent structure was the easiest way to go so I began with an actual tent, this was a little too obvious and far from my starting point. With this in mind, I pealed back the tent to reveal its basic frame. (See below)
As you can see, I used washing line rope (blue rope) to hold the tent sticks together and give that tension required to bend the bars into the shape. I then used cable ties to hold the rope in place where it crosses itself.
I used these materials becomes of their softness and minimalist look. I then took the newspaper and lay it on the ground in a formation (5,4,3,2) this created a triangle shape that was wide enough to cover the bottom and top of one side of the tent. It took 3 triangle formations to cover the entire tent shape.
I then painted the tent black so i could project a count up clock on the back and a projection of jumbled words on the left.
While projecting on this side (left side) i created a rainbow effect over the shadow of the tent and on the floor, this worked out really well and was very captivating, the rainbow was a symbol of something better, something less dark the tent and what the articles represented.
The projection on the back of the structure was a cunt-up clock, it started at 000,000 and counted up to 432,164, this was the number of refugees that entered Europe in 2013, the clock took 90 minutes to count up and was on loop.
(Back projection image to be uploaded)
More images of the structure internally, showcasing useless and uninformative “news”.
I am still working on this work, leading up to my degree show in June, this was part of the “unseen” exhibition, NCAD third year interim exhibition.
Recently I seen the movie ‘The Giver’ …
In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.
This movie is fascinating. It debates the idea of equality, brought in through a system of sameness. A community where there is no war, pain or famine. A community where people have no choice in life, from choosing their family to their careers.
In the movie, the character played by Meryl Streep says “when humans are given choices they always make the wrong ones”.
It made me think a lot about our purpose and what we do with our time. The average life in Ireland lasts 81 years. When you consider that from the ages of 4-21, which is 17 years are spent in full time education, then the average person works until the retirement age of 65. That then leaves you with 16 years of your life, that’s 44 years working full time.
What is it all for ?
when I visualise this in my head I automatically think of a conveyor belt. The start of the journey is similar for most, but the turns you take, the levels you rise and fall are determined on the situation your family are in. Most likely their financial situation. The more money they have or make the more choices that become available to you as you continue this conveyor belt journey from play school, through primary and secondary school, then into university. To be “educated” in one of the course choices you made on your CAO application, or so you thought! The course you chose can only become available if you attained the required number of points on your leaving certificate, this can be greatly influenced by the school you attended, whether you had an option of support out side of school hours and the educational level of your parents and family at large.
So to cap, you’ve studied for a long time, to get a course you didn’t particularly want, to become “employable” to work a job/career you have zero passion for, to buy lots of overpriced material goods, properties and services. To live through a number of financial recessions only to see your pay decline, taxes increase and public services stripped to the bone, even though you’ve contributed your earnings (tax) to them over the decades.
Now at the age of 45, the income you’re bringing home after years of working hard is now equal to or less than the income you started with on day one. If you’ve been lucky to keep your pay at the level it was before then the new taxes and tax increases will have gotten you, plus you’ve to pay a lot more to use public services like the bus. Did I forget to mention that you’re in negative equity. The 350,000€ home you bought 10 years ago is now worth 265,000€ thanks to the property bubble created by a bunch of lads and some women who don’t seem to have been affected that much, they’re now back in business, buying, developing and selling.
So now you go on your way and be a good citizen, work harder, longer hours, less pay, pay more in tax for reduced services so the government can pay back the billionaires that lost money and blame it one you, the citizens.
So I ask myself again, what is it all about?
News headlines from around the world.
- Senegal closes border closure with Guinea.
- A woman who was gang-raped and burned in her house tells a DR Congo war crimes trial she saw an army colonel give the orders.
- 33 people dead and 41 injured after two tourist buses collide in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
- Syrian conflict death toll has risen above 191,000 according to the UN.
- 18 suspected informants killed by Hamas.
- Israel kills top Hamas commanders.
- General Prayuth Chan-ocha named Prime Minister of Thailand
- 20 Malaysian passengers arrived back in Kuala Lumpur as Malaysia observed a national day of mourning.
- Davutoglu named Turkeys new Prime Minister.
- Russian convoy crosses border into Ukraine without Permission.
- Moroccan authorities raid camp of migrants waiting to cross into Spain.
- US court rules Argentinian debt plan illegal.
US and Canada
- Fed chair Janet Yellen cautious in speech.