Tag Archives: democracy

#HomeToVote

I don’t think I’ve ever been as amazed by any social phenomenon as I’ve been by the #HomeToVote hashtag on Twitter.

Today is the day Ireland goes to the polls to vote on whether we should allow people who are twenty-one and older to run for President (currently, one has to be thirty-five or older to run for that office), and whether we should extend the rights and protections of civil marriage to same-sex couples. They are both important issues, but I think the latter is the one which has drawn so many people home, and which has seen over sixty thousand people register to vote for the first time.

Honestly, I’m flabbergasted by the whole thing. In the best possible way.

In a little over twenty years, we’ve gone from a country where homosexuality was illegal to a country where thousands of people are streaming home for a flying visit simply to vote – let’s hope! – that same-sex partners can get married, and be considered equal under the law and the Constitution to their heterosexual brothers, sisters, cousins, coworkers, and friends. I have seen arguments to suggest that holding a referendum, or a popular vote, on an issue which should be one of human rights (and therefore above a mere vote) is an inappropriate thing to do, but in Ireland, we have no other way of doing it. To amend our Constitution, we must hold a referendum. And to give same-sex couples the same rights as everyone else, their right to marry must be enshrined in the Constitution. It does make me uncomfortable that I, as part of the heterosexual ‘majority’, have the power to essentially bestow a human right upon my fellow citizens, but I hope that – should the ‘Yes’ vote carry – it will be seen as solidarity, as brother- and sisterhood, and not a patronising gesture.

In any case, whatever happens today, I have never been so emotionally moved by any electoral or referendum campaign, and I have never been more amazed at the people of my country, and overwhelmingly the young people of my country, at that. I will be so proud to take my place in line today (for queues are forming at polling stations! I’ve never seen the like!) and cast my vote, in the full and certain knowledge that I am living in a democracy, and that the people – when they truly rise up and claim it – have power beyond measure.

It almost makes up for the Eurovision. Almost.

Image: irishexaminer.com

Image: irishexaminer.com

Flash Friday – ‘Ram’

Krak des Chevaliers/Qalat al-Hosn, Syria. CC photo by Jon Martin. Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Krak des Chevaliers/Qalat al-Hosn, Syria. CC photo by Jon Martin.
Image sourced: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Ram

It’s my fault.

After less than a day, her skin turned pink and her hair started clinging to her neck in sweaty loops, but she was still beautiful. So beautiful.

It’s my fault.

We’d eaten. There’d been wine. I just asked her, right there, by the side of the road. One knee, and all, but no ring. No ring.

She said ‘yes’, and everyone around us clapped.

It’s my fault.

She spotted a junk-stall across the road. Tourist tat, souvenirs, that sort of thing – and rings, plastic ones with fake gems. A modern woman buys her own bling, she’d laughed as she dashed out.

She forgot which way to look.

It’s my fault.

Now I am the besieging army, and I am the fortress wall. I shore up the cracks as quickly as I make them, but the assault never stops. It can never stop. I will not let it.

It’s my fault.
It’s my fault.
It’s my fault.

**

This week’s Flash! Friday challenge was to take an image of the beautiful fortress of Krak des Chevaliers – which I’ve long yearned to visit, though sadly it’s not in a very accessible part of the world – and a marriage proposal, and put them together to make a tiny story no longer than 160 words. It was also hinted that it might be good to look outside the box a little, and so this story was born. I lingered for ages over the end, and also over the title, but when you’re under a certain amount of time pressure (a good thing, of course!) you have to make decisions. I’m not sure I’ve quite achieved what I wanted with this wee tale, but I enjoyed the challenge of thinking about a fortress that wasn’t simply a fortress, and a siege that wasn’t simply a siege, and walls that crack but can never break.

My success in Flash! Friday has been negligible, if by ‘success’ you mean ‘winning’; I’ve been Honourable Mention a few times, and runner-up once or twice. My average isn’t great. I try to take this not as a sign that I’m terrible at writing flash, but that I just don’t seem to ‘get’ the prompts in a unique enough way to appeal to the judges – and that’s no reflection on my writing. With any luck, at least. I’m not going to hope for glory this week, either, but I’ve pleased myself by trying to see something different in the image, and that’s success enough.

So, it’s the weekend. The United Kingdom is still united. I’ve managed to squeeze a story out of my desiccated brain. All’s good with the world. Salut, friends – we’ll talk soon.