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Thursday, 26 September 2013

A Conversation, two Cultures, Jihad.

Latish Thursday  night.
"Why? Because he said he'd rip my head off, and pull my lungs out through my neck. That's why". The boy explains to me why he is not speaking to my husband. I splutter wordlessly.  He tells me it's not funny. I tell him it's the way he said it. " It's the way HE said it" he volleys back.

Early Tuesday morning
"I can't be dealing with this stuff first thing, I need calm, a soothing cup of tea, I will be off kilter  for the day now. It's the way you put it."  "No, Babycakes.  It is the way YOU put it". "Um yes. Maybe. But. What about the stuff he said to me BEFORE I put it. What about that. And anyway I bloody well will. And besides he knows quite well I didn't mean it".

A little later whilst sipping  Tea.
"The thing is darling man we simply must not indulge in these deadly little exchanges. These bloody ripostes.  THEY can, we can't. Ever. It's, basically,  inappropriate. Yes. It is. AND counter productive.We  Never Forget about the immature Frontal lobes. "Huh"?  "Yeah, feeling, sensation, ready and done. Judgement, rationality, still cooking, needs more time. You gotta keep the adult hat on till the mid twenties, baby. So. Never mind what he said, you say only measured things  Consistency and calm. Firmness, kindness, tolerance. Oh and a canny blind eye in  some things.

As he reaches to switch on the Radio.
"Yes. But, I want it on the record that nobody ever allowed for my frontal lobes. Or anyone else's  I knew. And all my major life choices were made by my mid twenties.  I mean people used to have families by then. Jobs. In the olden days, in a land far away people were hurtling towards middle age by then.

While Sean O'Rourke introduces his interviewee Mr Taufiq.
 "Ah,  yes, and look where they were going baby. The graveyard. And here are you in the prime of life, having it all; three vigorous teens to riff with,  rude good health to play with,  food in your belly, red wine in your wine rack,  and my obliging self  on a loop.. All you have to do is lay down your verbals,  your snappy cartoon violence, and suffer the teenagers. Gracefully".

And so we subside exhausted,.and listen with growing incredulity to that interview with the neurosurgeon  whose wife and  children were murdered in a house fire a few days before.  Listen as he talks with vim and singlemindedness  about his Muslim faith, his rigorous religious rearing of his children, the support and magnificence of his Muslim mates, his fine work colleagues, and so on and so on and so on. O'Rourke is dogged in his attempt to steer him back to the personal, the intimate, the private.  But how will he feel,? won't he be alone?  Nope. No. Faith will sustain him.  But....   Shehnila,  Zainab,  Jamil,  Bilalm,  they will sustain him too?. O'Rourke verges on the shrill.  That ball also drops dead at the good doctor's feet and the interview ends

As  I swing a leg out of bed, I think of emotional incontinence, of a culture feeling the necessity to wallow in, to finger over the pain of others. And a religion that extracts and devours the personal, the individual, from its followers. I wonder if the first  imbalance is preferable to the second. Probably. On Tuesday I read of the White Widow, the Irish woman allegedly leading the charge in the bombing of a shopping centre in Nairobi. I wonder what our eastern brethren the Jihadists think of Frontal Lobe maturity as they hurtle towards middle age and Alllah,  propelled by the mad energy of eternally half baked teenagers.  Arrested essentially..

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Better dead than living. A gathering of Wolverines.

Arrogance, inhumanity, stupidity, mechanical greed, which words best to employ to describe KBC  Bank's  sending of a letter to the bereaved  partner of  Fiachra Daly, dead by his own hand and a homeless casualty of the Priory Hall mess?  A letter  demanding arrears and interest while that Bank awaited full repayment of his mortgage from an insurance company.

The Bank is in the entirely undeserved position where the full mortgage will be met by an insurance company, despite the fact that the all of the residents have had to abandon their homes in the Priory Development, the buildings having proved to be deficent, hazardous and costing a king's ransom to be made good.  The insurance is not for the people, you see. And yet, oh yet, they went after arrears of interest  after the man's death. And yet and even though the dead man's children and his partner are homeless and will remain homeless. The insurance is not for the people.

He never suffered from mental health problems, his partner insisted. And well she must. The existence of such a history might give the insurance company an out. Because that's how insurance companies operate. Wedded to the bankers in the boom, the hopeful house buyer was ushered into into the grinning insurance salesman in the next room as soon as the loan application was signed.  An unholy alliance when the Tiger was on the high roll.

Almost every owner of the home they live in  has a life policy signed over to the bank.  First came the shiny new life policy,  then a glossy application for Income protection. No life policy, no mortgage no home.  No income protection, no mortgage, no...?  That was implied, and it was a stouthearted hopeful  who refused. These are the very income protection policies which do not pay out in most cases now, when desperately needed.  Or are paid directly to the banks.  The devil was in the detail, you see. And the insurance is not for the people.

The Bank in this case got its useless outsized mortgage paid off,  thanks to this man's sucide without mental illness. Tricky but neat.  Inescapable the fact then that any mortgager is better dead than living these fine days. And then the Bank went in for more.

"A demand automatically generated" they offer an outraged public. "We eh will yeah eh of  course eh write it off...when the eh when the policy pays up."   It is grotesque, unbelievable,  bizarre, unpreceded,  a GUBU indeed of an equivalence with permitting Banks to deal with people caught up in the housing crisis. The crisis, another GUBU, defies the usual round of commerce. Only a state appointed body with an authentic brief, or an Icelandic intervention of the people, should be permitted anywhere near Priory hall,  houses crumbling around pyrite, the mortgage arrears crisis. You might as well unleash a pack of wolvernines in a farm yard.

And still the band wagon of nest feathering, pillaging goes on, and a man, an ordinary man, father, lover, would be protector of his people is better dead than living to the State.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Black Hearts and Bankers.

 I was all week long keeping my head just above water moving too fast. You know the kind of thing, kids back to school, work demands, everything kicking off in autumn. A blurry week of appointments, trips to the cash machine, bringing the law down from the mountain one more time to recalcitrant teenagers. Car trips back and forth, hither and yonder, punctuated by Radio soundbites,  tunings in and out of  interviews with Bankers being asked what they were like doing for the distressed (mortgagors). Questioning of  A.I.B Bank's David Duffy  and his ilk, by the Government Committee tasked with establishing whether the Banks had done what they were like told to do. As in like offering loan  restructuring, or like write downs even,  or like anything,  like at all.  Like?

Doing? what were they doing? Why, they were writing letters, warning bad 'uns, wrinkling out dastardly Strategic Defaulters, and protecting,  they were like protecting deserving taxpayers. "They are....protecting....??? they are ....Ahh no, noo,  that's not right. That's just wrong,  that' just....back up there....that's not....right."  And my merry go round shrieks to a  halt.

"Gotta tell you" I tell my husband " gotta say before my head explodes, that basically, you know the banks?, well they got VALUATIONS before they handed over the cash for your house.. At the time I  mean, they messed with your head, they got valuations, made you pay for it, and told you  it wasn't for you it was for THEM. And no valuation, no cash, no house. So you did, you paid for it, AND you got other certificates about the planning, the services, the build, BUT you don't get another VALUATION because why would you? It's a no brainer, because they got one didn't they? They  wouldn't  let you have the money if it was  wrong would they?. Noone told  you "oh hey  hold up there, can't rely on that!, better get your own."

So why are we now hearing  this tricky disingenuous stuff  from bankers? Why not a class action against the Banks for the difference in the current  value of your house and the mortgage on it.  Negative equity take a bow.   Two thirds of all mortgages holders from the long boom era are in serious negative equity. Now that would be a powerful  class.

And one more thing.  I wonder if Mr Duffy might give me a business loan for my ace business idea to set up an on-line game.  Pius Banker types hunt down Strategic Defaulters with weasel words and loaded letters, winner takes all the  cute taxpayer lambs.

And that's all.  Too busy redirecting soul traffic here. Everyone in my house is in love. Everyone. Even my youngest daughter, my baby, (spanish students) (a seriously fetching spanish boy).. "Dangerously volatile, a chemical cocktail  zinging round our house, a triple whammy" I tell my(disgruntled) husband.  Study, exams, music practice, sleep, all  in jeopardy here. Gotta keep the show on the road.  Somehow."  "Yeah, well maybe, but what do I have to DO  (to get some attention around here).  You want chemicals step on over here,  feel my black and chemical little heart. Baby." Yes, everyone.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Leonard Cohen Knows.

I am occasionally  blindsided  by a  television soap scene, a piece of  acting in your mundane two to three episodes  a week soap, that  is quite simply a tour de force. An actor who over time and quite superbly makes a part their own. An Eastenders fan,  I was blown away by  character Jean Slater's recent scenes as she tethers on the brink,  struggling to manage the derailing high of of  a new love affair, and the agony of deciding whether to tell the beloved of her Bi polar disorder. It is good stuff on so many levels. To place a mental illness squarely into the human context, to show and tell what that means, to put the person first, the illness incidental; that is worth something.

There is a drive now to insist  that mental illness is an illness like any other, that  the sufferer is human,  is not possessed, not  alien, not other.  This is not a simple matter.    Sufferers of metal illness have traditionally been driven out, put aside, to assuage our haunting  fear of madness maybe. We who are periodically on the brink.  And then there is the fact that the extraordinary suffering caused by  mental illness surpasses all other suffering, more or less..

And that's not all.  For the acutely mentally ill among us,  we have to offer only  the drugs, the anti psychotics. . These are not fun drugs. The pathos and the bravery of the Eastenders character when she speaks of not choosing this, not wanting it, but anyway she has it, so get over it,  reflects I think the personal via delorosa of people obliged to submit to a deadening drug regime in order to be acceptable to the rest of us, to be allowed to live side by side with their family and friends.

 The folks who do not stick with this regime are in the deviant corner, judged,  labelled non compliants.  And as to side effects, why  we have antidotes for those, more drugs, so that  the constant plaintive wail of protest from the afflicted can be denied,  ignored.  Has to be,  we have nothing else,  have to keep pharmaceutical firms sweet,  ain't going back to the drawing board on this one no way, and, anyway, how easy it is to have our way with such lost and wandering folk. Our arrogance is breath taking indeed.

A woman then, describing  her condition, her ordeal, is invaluable, dragging  us out of the bunker, bringing us to acknowledgement, engagement. AND AFTER THAT I DO BELIEVE THE ONLY THING IS TO ACKNOWLEDGE OUR OWN INADEQUACY. And assume a proper humility, wonder even. I have some experience of people in that acute state, as yet undrugged, and have wondered about that which is revealed. What mystery, haunting, visitation, is coming through that other, altered, mind. Can we be so sure it  is only for smothering, snuffing out?

There being a crack in everything letting the light in to mess with the words of leonard cohen come down from the mountain to tell us one more time.