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TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER

an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
& other curiosities :: profile


06.10.24


On Saturday we popped by the L*ndmark Hotel in C*rrick-on-Sh*nnon, where the count was taking place after local and EU parliamentary elections. The hotel was buzzing, crowded with candidates, supporters, family, and onlookers. Children scampered up and down the halls with ice cream-smudged faces, while adults gathered around cups of tea or pints. The mood was ebullient, more suitable for a party, everyone catching up or teasing each other. The one scandal was the missing list containing 4 percent of our area’s tally; apparently a tallyman had taken it with him to lunch.

Perhaps the mood was deceptively jovial. Immigration had been a sore point during this election season. National polls in May revealed that "the public mood on immigration was hardening". I’d open the county newspaper and see a half-page ad for a candidate from the National Party (“Ireland for the Irish!”), or come across a leaflet proclaiming 1 in 4 residents in Ireland were not Irish. Minority candidates had been intimidated and harassed across Ireland; locally, a female candidate’s posters were torn down or effaced with graffiti. The November riots were still fresh. Throughout the season, I felt tense. Obviously, as a foreigner, my welcome was conditional, even as I knew these people by name, even as I was related to them by marriage, even as I had lived among them for nearly two decades.

//

A week or so ago I saw yer man the Mummer at a bus stop beside the river in Sl*go. Surrounded by commuters (some with immigrant backgrounds), he was shouting, shaking a sign that declared, “DEPORT RAPIST REFUGEES”. He was running in the local election on a platform that referred to people of colour as “Darkies”.*

To him and maybe even to many so-called “saner” people, migrants are not human. They’re an invention, something to drag out of the gutter of their minds to brandish as the hated projection of all their fears, onto which they had displaced visceral anger over the neoliberal policies of the last 30 years which have left Ireland with a seemingly insurmountable housing crisis. The Mummer’s stance was ironic—his mother is Italian, his partner German, he spoke 5 or 6 languages.

Anyways, traffic was slow, moving by inches, so as our car passed him, I stuck my arm out of the window and voted with my middle finger.**

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*He received 35 votes, 35 votes! As a friend exclaimed, who were the loonies who voted for him?!

** As a resident, I am eligible to vote in local elections. But when I applied to register, I didn’t hear back from the county council, due to “high amount of requests.” Very frustrating.






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