Where has the R word gone?

I write this having learnt that taxi driver Moses Ayanwole, originally from Nigeria, and brutally attacked by a white passenger in Pearse street, has died of his injuries. I write this with rage not only at the senseless murder, but also at the refusal by politicians and the mainstream media to use the racism word to describe it. We heard nothing from the Minister of Justice or any other senior politician. And on RTE’s Morning Ireland the representative of the taxi federation spoke about the need to install CCTV cameras in taxis but not about the issues faced by black African taxi drivers, who experience daily racism from white colleagues and passengers alike. There was nothing about many taxi ranks carrying ‘Irish drivers only’ notices, or about passengers refusing to get into taxis with black drivers, not to speak of the litany of racial slurs and insults.

This murder puts further flames onto recent racist fires. In Naas we had mayor Darren Scully who made the decision to refuse representation to black Africans based on what he described as their “aggressive” attitude when making representations to him, but who insensitively argues that he ‘abhors racism in all its forms’, adding that he had many African friends (not realising this is one of the most common ‘I am not a racist’ but ploys). And in Athlone, a 16 year old black girl was raped by a group of white boys, including one white girl, in an attacked described by the Evening Herald a ‘race rape of girl (16)’ – at least they used the R word, but one wondered whether the reason is sensationalism or accurate reporting. Continue reading “Where has the R word gone?”

David Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel

landyDavid Landy seems to have been curious about the construction of Jewish identity for a long time… when I first met him in 2004 he wanted to do a PhD on Ireland’s Jews… I deterred him, as this small and curious minority (‘who has ever heard of an Irish Jew?’) has been researched and written about disproportionately to its number and significance. I invited him to apply to the MPhil in Ethnic and Racial Studies, for which he wrote a dissertation on Zionism and Irish Jews.

Linking his interest in Jewish identities to his passion about Palestinian rights, it was no surprise that when he did research his PhD he focused on diaspora Jews opposed to Israel. I loved working with him as his supervisor on both dissertations; he also worked for me on a research project on Israeli memory networks – I learnt a lot from him and admire his wry sense of humour… I particularly enjoyed his thinking about the complexities of researching something he is part of – being both ethnically Jewish and a central member of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, a tightrope act which he performs admirably, evincing his commitment to both sociology and the social movement he studied.
His research field is English groups of Jewish people engaged in opposing Israeli policies. In the course of writing this book he expanded his theoretical understanding – as one does – particularly to examining diaspora opposition to Israel in terms of being a social movement – the focus of this well researched book. Continue reading “David Landy, Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel”