Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Questionable Festivities

There's been some reason for celebrations lately, hasn't there? First there was Easter, with bunnies and chocolate and the breaking of Lent for those who observe such customs. I don't. I don't like to deny myself anything, if at all possible.

Here in Ireland, we followed the long Bank Holiday weekend of easter with another long Bank Holiday weekend because it was the beginning of May. Cause for celebrations, no doubt. Locally, in my corner of the world, the May Bank Holiday weekend always plays host to the local Mussel Festival. Local pub, marquee or two, bucketloads of mussels, great chefs, live music and plenty to drink. My friend Kenneth was playing at the opening of the festival on friday, I'd say the festivities and the food rivalled that of a certain high-profile wedding that was going on at the same time in London.

I tried not to get caught up in the wedding hype but still found myself trying to catch a glimpse of Kate's wedding dress on colleague's iPad which was conveniently streaming live footage via Sky News. I loved her dress and her sister's dress. That evening, when calling into my neighbour's we watched the highlights and laughed when her son came in with the comment "William is punching way above his weight there". Which is true, he does look very horse-y. Harry on the other hand...

Then, from across the Big Pond came news that everyone's Number One Enemy, Osama Bin Laden has been sent to meet his maker by the US Navy SEALs. Seeing the footage of people celebrating made a little bit sick. I am in no way condoning what he did but celebrating someone's death in such a way made me uneasy. Eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth will leave us all being fitted for dentures and learning Braille. I know this quote by Martin Luther King Jr. has been bandied about a lot recently, but it does seem to capture the mood of a lot of people:

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

I have been tempted to speculate whether or not this bit of news is actually an elaborate hoax cooked up by the White House/CIA/FBI/NSA/X-files/Aliens to boost Obama's popularity. Withholding any photographs while deliberating if it's appropriate to publish them (photos of dead bodies have been a permanent feature in any news cast for a while now, why so cautious about publishing these?), not that I have any interest in seeing them. The timing of his death, quite soon after the whole hoo-ha about his birth certificate. And loads more fuel to the conspiracy theory fire. 

Fighting fire with fire doesn't seem to be the best options, especially when you think of the explosive global political climate we are in now. Riots, revolutions, protests and such are happening globally. Taking such joy out of having killed a man (no matter how evil) seems to me a bit foolish. You're attracting the wrong kind of fans. The kinds who love to hate. 

I, on the other hand am wholeheartedly embracing the 4th of May as the important, international holiday that it is: Star Wars Day. I'm glad to see that the twitter hashtag #maythe4thbewithyou has overtaken the likes of #obl #binladen and anything else less celebratory. I think it may well be time to dig out the old DVDs and spend hours watching these sci-fi masterpieces. And just for clarification purposes, these masterpieces include episodes 4, 5 and 6. Episodes 1, 2 and 3 are not recognised in this household as Star Wars movies. The only good thing about them was Liam Neeson, and even he isn't brilliant enough to balance out the horror that is Jar Jar Binks. 

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