Some people say love is blind. I disagree. It is infatuation that is blind. To my mind, real love means I will tell you the truth, my truth, the truth of my experience. Love also means that I will listen to you as you tell me your truth, no matter how painful that is.
Truth has been in short supply in Ireland for many years.
Bankers and developers have told lies.
The clergy have told lies.
The government have told lies.
Political parties have told lies.
The Health Services have told lies.
(This is not a complaint, but a simple statement of fact.)
Lies permeate every facet of our culture.
And there is nothing more destructive to any relationship than lies.
So what can we do?
Do we sweep the lies under the carpet?
Do we perpetuate the lies by pretending there has been no injustice?
Do we give in to the learned helplessness of our colonial experience?
Or do we take responsibility for bringing about change to the best of our ability?
Edmund Burke wrote "For the triumph of evil it is only necessary that good men do nothing." This is what we could become in Ireland now, a whole load of good people doing nothing.
Is this what we want for ourselves and our children? Do we perpetuate the injustices of the recent past or the present by saying and doing nothing? Do we, as a people, wish to see evil triumph?
You see I don't believe that we do. I just think that most of us do not know what to do. We are full of feelings of helplessness. We say to ourselves 'what is the point of doing anything, no-one is listening.' I understand that feeling. I understand the desire to give up and hope it will all go away. Unfortunately, the problems we are facing are not going to go away.
I believe the solution is simple but not necessarily easy. We must begin to tell the truth. When we see or hear of civil rights violations we must speak out. Whether the issue is the rape and assault of children, violence against women, theft by politicians, bankers and developers, the removal of vital health services from people with disabilities or unjust taxes. We must open our mouths and speak out. Those who have done wrong must be held accountable for their actions.
We must not fall into the trap that we have no time for justice because our country is in the red. We are in the red because of lies and only the truth will bring about real and lasting change.
So if you love your country as I do, do not stand by and watch her destroy herself. Take a stand for what is right in whatever way you can. Stand up for the elderly person, who contributed to this country all their life, dying on a trolley in a hospital corridor. Stand up for the person being denied access to their birth or medical records. Stand up for the school children being denied a proper education. Stand up for the people losing their homes because of the developers.
Do something, no matter how small. Tell the truth no matter how faintly. Let your love of our country be an active thing. Let your love of Ireland be an honest and truthful thing. Be one of the good men and good women who do not allow evil and lies to triumph.
Read on for Truth No. 2
An afternoon among the women poem
Growing up in a white world
When people say genealogy is boring
Anger and Truth
Where do you come from?
The House on an Irish Hillside book review
Mammies for Mariage Equality
Aw go on, say YES
Homeless in Ireland
When wide sky opens poem
I love my work
Celtic New Year
This small house
Rhythm & Rest poem
The Hidden Self
The Lonely Road
Kerry Pride 2013
Letting the Light in after Loss
Letting go is hard
Pick up the phone
Her name was not Magdalene
Do what you love doing!
My small granny
Praise the child and boil the dishcloths
My invisible brother Michael
I don't want to be Irish anymore
Alone on Valentine's Day
I love my country but I am not blind
Truth no. 2
How we tell the Truth
From Clare to here
Mother's Day is bittersweet
I will not be part of that
No Blacks No Dogs No Irish
Thank you for the days
Baby Marion Howe
My Irish Identity
When my Mam was dying
Violence against women
Take back your power
Draw the line
My small granny and other stories