The Elecktronick Tyger Roares
22 February 2006
  Streets of Sorrow?
Some years ago, the Anglo-Irish folk-punk band Pogues Mahone (the Pogues) recorded a track consisting of two songs -- Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six.

Terry Woods' Streets of Sorrow was a sad and bitter lament, that concluded "I'll not return to see more sorrow/Nor to see more young men slain."

Bandleader Shane McGowan's Birmingham Six, on the other hand, was a snarling punk-tinged diatribe set to acoustic backing, averring that the Birmingham Six had primarily been arrested and sentenced on no or flimsy evidence "for the crime of being Irish in England and at the wrong time."

Six actors who appeared in a film about three British Muslim Guantanamo detainees who were held without warrant or charges for two years and then released, still without ever having actually been charged with something, might be able to provide a fresh insight into that sort of thing:

Muslims Featured In Berlinale Winner Detained on Return to U.K.

Two British Muslims featured in the movie The Road to Guantánamo, along with four actors who appear in the film, were detained for about an hour last Thursday and questioned by police as they returned to Britain from the Berlin Film Festival, where the movie had received the Silver Bear award for direction.

One of the actors, Rizwan Ahmed, claimed in a statement published in today's (Tuesday) Guardian newspaper that he was denied access to a lawyer, questioned about his motivations for appearing in the movie, and was sworn at. A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire police told the Guardian: "Part of the counter-terrorism act allows us to stop and examine people if something happens that might be suspicious."

(IMDB news item)
Hmmm. Travelling to Berlin and back to accept an award for your film is suspicious... If your film happens to suggest, perhaps, that people are being mistreated because of their faith?

It wasn't as bad as it might have been under the law cited -- again, Shane's lyric:
" Ireland, they'll put you away in the Maze; in England they'll hold you for seven long days. God help you if ever you're caught on this shore when the coppers need someone and they walk through that door..."

Frederik Pohl's SF story The Day After the Martians Came postulates that an expedition to Mars brings back ugly, bad-smelling, slow-moving, barely-intelligent Martians. Immediately, people are making all of the old ethinc jokes (any ethnic jokes) and just substituting Martians for polacks, jews, niggers, fags, etc.

After a day or so of this, someone remarks that it's not really going to make much difference that th Martians came... and an elderly black janitor says, more to himself than anything, ", sir -- gonna make a powerful difference to some folks."

Perhaps the relegation of Muslims to being the designated "strongly - suspected - until - proven - innocent" group has made a difference to the Irish in England.

Then again, considering all those years of Anglo/Irish cordiality that have gone before, perhaps not.
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My interests are broadranging -- comics, music, movies and good ol' science fiction mostly dominate. My Five Most Favouritest Films are (this week) Once Upon A Time in the West, Dark Star, O Lucky Man, Day for Night and Whatever I Watched Recently That Was Good. Currently that's Day for Night.

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Name: mike weber
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Latter fifties, married, out of work (had knee surgery and haven't gotten back to work); my (step) son-in-law is back from Iraq, but a lot of boys are still over there. Support our troops -- throw the Republicans out!

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