grateful, friend. "Stalinville"
is, by far, the best thing you have ever written.
So be grateful. You are beginning to sound like a
republican Jonathan Swift, and that's good. You are
pulling out all that buried language in metaphors
and similes and analogies, filled with satirical litanies
and ladders of adjectives and adverbs that years in
her majesty's prisons and university have formed in
you. Be grateful to her highness for giving you such
a deep education that until recently you could not
fathom its poetic intensity. But you must remember
to also be grateful to the lieutenant of Animal Farm
whose seemingly ambiguous tirade brought you to the
apex of your expression.
what better topic could it be? The thought police
are always conscious of enforcing unconsciousness,.
No matter what its form, they will be liberal about
it. No matter what its irrational nature, they will
honor it. Rarely do they try to inspire us out of
what they hope to be an endless sleep. And so it was
that this lieutenant put his foot (or hoof) too far
into the pen. A major mistake, but the complexity
of cause and effect may be beyond his personal pale,
without the sufficient training at the Ourselves Will
Never Be Alone headquarters.
remember a similar encounter with this esteemed city
councillor at the height of the hunger strike 22 years
ago. In my role as chairman of the New York H-Block/Armagh
Committee, I had brought Ramsey Clark (former attorney
general of the US) and Father Dan Berrigan to the
north to try to put pressure on the English government.
Both men spoke at a rally in Belfast as I stood waiting
my turn. When I reached for the microphone, the same
lieutenant who confronted you on the Andersontown
Road pulled it from my hands and barked at me, "You'll
never speak here." I suppose I had indicated
too many times to too many of the thought police along
the way that I believed that all animals are equal,
but some of them were not more equal. It hurt me,
but it taught me too, and it gave me a new voice with
words that gobbled out of me with a mysterious resonance
and novelty. I am grateful for that.
so, friend, be grateful that the chance meeting on
the Andytown Road took place. It has found a new voice
in you and we are listening to it more than ever.
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