05 December 2011

Arise! Arise! Arise!

A Phoenix rises from the ashen grounds of the Central Bank
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
A quiet weekend, in part through illness and part in giddy anticipation of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny's State of the Nation address on Sunday night (yes, Virginia, there is a Taoiseach and he'll be visiting every home in Ireland on Sunday night once all the good girls and boys are tucked up safe in bed. No Virginia, he won't be visiting all the bold boys and girls who are staying up late watching X-Factor, nothing but coal in the socks for them this year. Well, actually, its coal in the socks for everyone this year, Virginia, so feck it all, ye may as well stay up and watch X-Factor after all).

I did manage to make it out for a bit on Saturday to join hundreds of others from voluntary and community groups protesting against cutbacks in the carnival known as The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope. An amazing event more Mardi Gras than protest, with floats, stilt-walkers, costumes and musicians the parade started at City Hall and wound its way past Occupied Dame Street and down to the GPO for an airing of grievances and hopes. The day was something special, not least for the children's groups that helped create the costumes and floats and for all who came and enjoyed a magical afternoon in the December sunshine.

Not, of course, that you would have learned anything about this from our national media, for with the exception of online sites like TheJournal.ie and the ever excellent (and Ireland's answer to The Daily Show, in that for a surprising number of young folks it is their primary news source) Broadsheet the Spectacle received almost no coverage at all. In fact a bake sale to raise money for a community centre received more coverage on RTE over the weekend than hundreds of people in costume waltzing down O'Connell Street. It would all be hilarious if it weren't so tragically predictable.

As you can tell from the photographs below the theme of the Spectacle was the colour red (except for the figure of Death shrouded in black astride a horse at the head of the parade) and the images really don't do justice to just how uplifting an event the Spectacle was.

The community groups behind the Spectacle are an inspiration to us all.

The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, Dublin, Saturday, 3rd December
More information on The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope can be found on their website here, and you can find a video report from the event by Paula Geraghty on Politico.ie.

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