May 29, 2009

The Irish problem…with solution

Filed under: culture,politics — Kim @ 1:21 pm

The Irish problem.


A middle-aged Irishman is in a dark and dirty prison. He has been there for a very long time, has not shaved for weeks, and is thin from insufficient food. He has recently had an extremely painful ear infection which he thought would make him deaf, but was refused medical attention for weeks. He should not be there, he is in a prison simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is innocent and is being held for belonging to a certain culture.

An Englishman is in the room with him – he looks at the Irishman with an imperious eye “What in the name of fuck are you talking about you ridiculous Irish aborigine?” He speaks in very precise and very mannered English English, “ It always amazes me that the race of apes from which you descended should ever have acquired the basic rudiments of language. Your diction is unfathomable. It is only matched by your audacity, you maggot-faced, pea-brained piece of pus.”

The Solution

The Englishman was John McCarthy and the Irishman he was ‘so cruelly taunting’ was Brian Keenan. They spent four years together as hostages in Lebanon. The invective against the Irish was taken verbatim from Keenan’s “An Evil Cradling”.

This is the Irishman’s account of how the Englishman helped him during a severe and prolonged bout of gastroentiritis.

Lying exhausted with an agonized embarrassment I watched my friend clean the mess off me without complaint. He was a very proper nurse, diligent in his work and tender in his passion, never once complaining of the filth he had to dip his hands into and never once complaining of being constantly wakened in the night by my retching and by my bowels exploding…The buffoon, the fool, the comic was a man of vast tenderness, a man of compassion.

His account of their friendship is hugely moving and they are two brave and wonderful men. Brian is very conscious and proud of his Irishness, John oozes and uses his Englishness. To me, they are examples of ideal human beings.


  1. McCarthy? Do I detect a hint of Irish in that Englishman?

    Comment by chriswaugh_bj — June 2, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  2. Since you are English and your office mate is Irish am I to assume you share a similar relationship?

    Comment by Your ex-Canadian Lackey — June 2, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  3. Hello ex-lackey! Yes, you are right. Me and Mike (“Mike and I” rejected due to lack of alliteration. Ed.) are both brave and wonderful men and we help each other survive the horrors of EAP in China thanks to our ineradicable good humour and refusal to buckle…but our office is not quite a cell and thankfully he has not yet had gastroentiritis.

    Have you still got your beard? It suits you…makes you look more like a rugged lumberjack Candian type person.

    Comment by Kim — June 4, 2009 @ 5:19 am

  4. I like the sound of ‘Candian’ that Kim referred to in his reply to YECL. One who candies? One who fancies candies? One who candies fancies? More please.

    Comment by Sean — June 5, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  5. No beard these days. Without you to boss me around these days the wife has kindly filled the role. She made me cut it off.

    Comment by Your ex-Canadian Lackey — June 5, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

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