Ravings From The Bog

How To Encourage Electors To Vote…

rachida-datiWhy can’t our politicians look like this? I know I’d certainly vote. Rachida Dati, the French minister of justice, wouldn’t have any problem getting elected over here when compared to some of our “beauties”! Am I being shallow and sexist? You bet your ass! (NB: one beauty from each local tribe for equality :))



Italy Pays Libya For Colonial Crimes – When’s Our Turn?

Italy has agreed to pay Libya US$5billion in reparations for their 30-year occupation of Libya that ended in 1943.

That’s a great idea, Silvio, and I’m absolutely certain that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the millions of barrels of oil reserves that Libya is sitting on!

It may, however, be a very dangerous trend to start. I don’t think it has been thought through fully. Simple mathematics tells me that if we divide the $5 billion by 30 (years of occupation) and multiply that by roughly 800 (years Britain has been occupying Ireland) and then divide that tidy sum by 1500000 (current population of Northern Ireland – NB: the “West Brits” living in the south are still minted from the Celtic Tiger economy and aren’t the type to share with us), we’re set for a windfall of at least £88888 (US$178998) each!!! What will you buy with yours?

Now…apply this principle around the world and it gets even better. Suddenly, (but temporarily) the current US economic worries are forgotten with the reparations owed by the UK (1629-1776!). Of course, very shortly after that, the US needs to raid Fort Knox to spread some real aid to all of it’s pseudo-colonies (mostly political, puppet-government run, second and third world countries, but with some exceptions). You can see where I’m going here… Dream on!

Italy agreed Saturday to pay Libya US$5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country, which ended in 1943.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi signed a memorandum pledging a US$5 billion compensation package involving construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians during World War II.

“It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era,” Berlusconi told reporters at the airport on his arrival. “This agreement opens the path to further cooperation.”

In return, Italy wants Libya to crack down on illegal migrants turning up on Italian shores, and Italy will fund US$500 million worth of electronic monitoring devices on the Libyan coastline.

Gadhafi received Berlusconi under a big tent in Benghazi where they discussed the agreement over lunch. The Italian leader said US$200 million of the package would be for infrastructure projects over the next 25 years, including a coastal highway stretching across the country from Tunisia to Egypt.

The two leaders exchanged gifts, with Berlusconi giving Gadhafi a silver inkstand, sculpted in the form of a lion’s head, with two pens inside to sign the agreement. The Libyan leader gave Berlusconi a linen suit.

Berlusconi’s office said in a statement that the premier would also hand over to Gadhafi the Venus of Cyrene, an ancient Roman statue taken in 1913 by Italian troops from the ruins of the Greek and Roman settlement of Cyrene, on the Libyan coast.

Relations between the two countries have warmed over the last few years, with Italian leaders meeting Gadhafi several times. However, it has taken years of negotiations for the two sides to reach a deal on compensation for Italy’s rule over Libya from 1911 to 1943.

Libya named Aug. 30 Libyan-Italian Friendship Day.


Murder, Genealogy and The Irish Civil War

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to know more about my family history. My surname is fairly unique – anyone living in the UK and Ireland with the name Parte or Part is related in some way to my family. We’ve no solid idea where it came from originally, and I’d really like to take one of those DNA diagnostic tests that can tell roughly where your ancestors originated. Must look that up!

One of the things I have found out in my quest so far, is that my great grandfather on my father’s side, Charles Part, was murdered on May 1 1922. He had retired from the British Army after his service in the Boer War and in a reserve battalion based in Cork and Dublin during World War I, and was working, aged 55, as a postman in Keady, Co. Armagh. On the day of his death, my grandfather, also called Charlie and aged 16, was helping him deliver mail in the townland of Derrynuse. They separated temporarily and were ambushed simultaneously by members of a local republican group. Charles Senior, was killed at the scene and his son was shot in the head and arm, and left for dead. He recuperated in hospital for a year and when released, his widowed mother, Rose, moved Charlie and his brothers, Ernie and Eddie to Belfast. We believe it was at this stage that they added an “e” to the end of Part – reason unknown.

As far as I can surmise, Charles Part was targeted because of his Unionist views, his service in the British Army, his Presbyterian religion, or the fact that as a postman, he was a government employee, who until comparatively recently had the Crown as part of their cap badges, or perhaps all four.

He was not alone. Thousands died on both sides of the political and religious divides in a vicious guerrilla war. However, it was a surreal experience reading about a murdered relative for the first time when I got a copy of the Belfast Newsletter that described the incident. I was also able to obtain Charles’ death certificate was really brought it home for me.

The ultimate irony is that only a few years later, his son Charlie would marry a Catholic girl from Ardee, Co. Louth, and in the 1950s be living in Andersonstown, West Belfast. Our family since then, across several different branches, has included a prison officer, a policeman, a hunger striker and various other combatants on both sides, in the more recent 1969-1994 “Troubles” with a few close shaves at times.

I can vividly remember visiting my grandparents’ house around 1972 and seeing Rose, who was at least 92 at that stage, wrapped in a black shawl with her long grey hair, sitting in front of the fire for warmth. I had no idea at the time, aged 10, of what she had experienced – a missed opportunity to glean some historical gems. Lesson learnt! I have grilled my mother for any details she can provide about her family and have made connections in England, where her father came from. My Genes Reunited family tree now has over 400 names and goes back as far as 1757.