Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Whats it all about...

Well its been too weekends since my last Search retreat. If you have ever read this blog before, which I doubt you have, you will know that Search means a great deal to me. I've mentioned it countless times, and frankly its probably one off the biggest parts off my Life.

The past weekend was great. I think the team worked so well together and I definitely know I bonded with some people. Anyway I decided not to write about the weekend until after our first catch up meeting as this is when you get a real sense off how well it went. By this stage all the hype has died down and you have a chance to sit back and reflect on it. I still think it was great. I've known it to happen before where you feel you have bonded but after the weekend you realise that you haven't bonded at all. I honestly don't feel that is the case this time.

More importantly, you judge how well the candidates enjoyed it, as this is the first time they can come along to weekly meeting. On Tuesday night. nearly all the candidate returned. They all seemed as interested as they did as the weekend came to an end. I wasn't expecting the turn out so obviously I was extatic. But in the end whats it all about...

The mission statement says "Search is a group of young people who enable other young people to explore, experience and share their faith in new ways". I feel it allows you to prioritise your life. It allows us to reflect on what is really important, and what we should put first in life. The main focus of this weekend is then God, however nothing is forced on you. I think this is why it works. We allow you to make your own mind up. I know if I had attended a weekend and it had been all bible and preaching, Id have never returned. The gentle approach allows one to accept God in his or her own time. As a friend once told me, even the Great Man of Galilee whispered.

However to me Search has brought so much more than just a realisation and an acceptance of God. I can honestly say any Holidays, Experiences or Events I have been attended have been as a direct result of Search. I'll tell my story now, its most likely of little interest to many, but I just wanna get it out.

Three years ago, on the 05th of November, 2005, My sister dragged me along to this weekend retreat, run by a group of Young people calling them selves Search. I literally didn't wanna go. I didn't want to sit and have the bible forced on me and be told I was wrong for not being "Christian", to their standards. However upon entering the doors I was met by a really friendly group off people, that seemed to genuinely love eachother. I loved the weekend. I realised it wasn't about being Christian to their standards... It was about being Christian, about accepting that God Loves Me; And So I Did. From here I have achieved so much. I met a group off great people, and though I may not keep them in my life forever I will always have great memories. If you read through my blogs, and find the ones about Friends, and days/night out with my friends you'll note I met most off these people through Search. Due to Search I had a friend in Germany I could rely on, to put me up when I needed a place to stay in Germany.

I have always had wonderlust, and my First holiday outside of Ireland came from being part off Search. I visited Medjugorje, in Bosnia Herzegovina. It was at the time one off the Best weeks of my life. I'll never forget how the Sun sparkled off the Diamond waters of the Adriatic Ocean as the bus rumbled along the Coastal Cliffs of Croatia, down into the green valleys of Bosnia. The following year I attended the Redemptrist European Youth Congress in Limerick. I met some amazing people, and I had a great time. This year I went to Lourde as part off the Clonard Youth Team. Again I met amazing people, and had a great time.

Although I never got the chance to visit the developing world, to do charity work, I got involved with Serve through Search. I was accepted to fly to Thailand as a worker. Although this never came to be, I have great memories, such as Flip Flop Friday. More Info here...

Although most off my first gigging band had met before Search I feel it was through the group we cemented our bonds at the time, strong enough to forge a band. Since then sadly the cement has cracked, and the bonds seem to have split. I picked up my Acoustic Guitar, after years of neglection due to Search.

I could go on and on and on... But I doubt you read all this so I'll leave it here

God Bless

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Ireland, Yes You Can

Last Sunday the Ministry of Defence, MOD, had organised a Parade through Belfast for the RIR returning from the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. My first point to bring here is that the MOD should have known better. This Parade was quite controversial in Ireland. The RIR have rose from the remnant of the UDR, much the way the PSNI where the remnant of the RUC. A rose by another name would smell so Sweet.

I did support the Republican view, that no British Army regiment should be paraded victoriously through our Non-British city. The Parade was a slap in the face off any Republican that has supported the unarmed advancement towards Peace. It was completely ignorant to the struggle and beliefs of 50% of this part of the Island. As a result I support the Republican demonstrations. However I was fairly disappointed with the only Legal demonstrations, as I felt it folded to way too many demands. It changed its route, its time and its final gathering point. To paraphrase the words of Eírígís Chairman, Brian Leeson, "Did Martin Luther ask Permission to march?". I'm very much against appeasement if it is to the detriment of ones beliefs. This Parade was merely to remind the People of the Occupied territory those they where just that... Occupied.

Brian Leeson however calmed my disappointment to the legal Republican march. He raises the point that we had a victory. The British Army paraded without music, without Arms and without RAF fly over as was planned. However I also had problems with the Protest Parades. Sinn Fein allowed the British Media to portray this Protest as a Republican, when this Parade should have been a Community wide protest for Peace, against the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

However this along with a previous post of mine about Amnesty International, has made me think. Many Humanitarian groups, Charities and Pressure groups along with the UN and the EU, have internationally recognised the Struggle in, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, DR Congo, Darfur and the list goes on. However Ireland do not have International recognition of their Struggle for Freedom.

I believe the Republican movement needs to Campaign for this International recognition. The EU rules state, or stated, that no Country that lays claim to another can become a member, and yet the British, who lay claim to Scotland, Wales and Ireland have been members since the beginning. The UN have not officially recognised the Struggle, and recognised British Crowned Forces as being an occupying force.

Amnesty International is holding the "Un-Subscribe Me" campaign against torture in Guantanamo Bay Prison. They are one of many Humanitarian groups with this stance, yet none spoke out when the Irish people where being tortured in British run Prisons in their own country. The video in my Amnesty International post is specifically to highlight the "Stress Position" for of torture, however this technique has been used time and time again in Ireland. The have not called for the British to be called up for War crimes in Ireland, yet they call for America to be trialled over Iraq.

The struggle for Irish Freedom seems relatively low on peoples interest lists theses days. Appeasement and striving to obtain Political correctness, has almost killed the struggle. It’s no longer okay to say "I'm an Irish Republican", because it may annoy. To be Republican is not something to shy away from, it is not a bad thing and it is only offensive to people who are too close minded to accept the political views off other people.

Just recently, as stated in my last blog, the American people elected Barack Obama. The American people voted for change, and despite the odds, a voice said "Yes You Can", and they did. Well my message to those who feel a United Irish Nation is no longer achievable I say this:

Yes You Can.

Can you achieve the Goal, off a free United Ireland, separate from any foreign Governing body? Yes You Can!

The Proclamation of Independence, as read on the steps of the GPO in 1916 and accepted by Dáil Éireann, already states that we are a free independent country when it says "We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible".

Ireland don't give up on your Country. You can be Free... Yes You Can.

God Bless

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

America, Yes You Can

Well, it seems I will be keeping my Political expectations to myself for now on. As with my prediction of the Lisbon Treaty, I was also incorrect about the results for the American Presidential Election.

America Proved Me Wrong.

I really thought they would vote Republican. My faith in America has been restored recently anyway, but I still didn't feel the Population would elect a Black President. I Was Wrong. I woke up this morning to view History. A little of me wishes I was part off that History. I Love being Irish, but today it would appeal to me to be American, for the first time in many years.

JFK made the American population proud to be American. I believe that Obama has done the same thing for Americans today, after popular opinion hasn't been too friendly in recent years. The wars and the failing economy seem to have dampened America's view of itself. However this election has seemingly changed that.

This election has been slated as being "Historic", and I feel it has been, but maybe for different reasons than most. I've never seen an election in any country where, though I don't agree with everything both sides are saying, I do actually like both candidates. If I had to pick any Politician to be my Grandad, it would have been McCain. Both Candidates seemed to be genuinely nice people, which is a rare quality in Politics. The campaigns where not "dirty" to the level Politics usually gets too. The candidates seem to have a genuine respect for each other; Even in McCains closing speech, after accepting defeat, he defended Obama against a booing crowd.

I was backing Obama, purely because I'm slightly more Left Wing, and I feel he was too. I didn't completely agree with Obama however, and on some things I agreed with McCain.

I think the reason for Obama's win was 'cause he seemed to offer a way out of the past Eight years of failed Government. Although McCain was a Maverick, and no one can actually deny that, I feel he was to closely tied to Bush.

I think either candidate would have been good for America; Both Candidates would have brought Welcome Change. However more so with the Obama camp.

However tomorrow America will wake up, and George W. Bush will still be President; Their Husbands, wives, sons and daughters will still be in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Economy will still be close to Recession, and so maybe the celebrations should be held off for just a while, at least until January 20th 2009. Obama has a lot of work to do, and so Does America but today may have proved one thing...

America, Yes You Can

God Bless,