Lord Mayor inadvertently highlighted the obvious

February 28th, 2021 8:00 PM

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SIR – ‘Ridiculous’ is the only word that comes close to describing Cork City’s Lord Mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh’s public profession of regret for using the words ‘all lives matter’ during his contribution, at last week’s online commemoration of Frederick Douglass – the noted anti-slavery campaigner, who visited Cork in 1845. 

By using the words ‘all lives matter’ instead of the politically-charged ‘Black Lives Matter’ he had inadvertently highlighted the obvious; our common humanity, that we are all equally human from womb to tomb.  He had opened up a conversation, that the more ideologically enslaved are determined to shut down.

Either every life matters or no life matters; only those embracing a particular ideological outlook matter! 

To emphasise one group’s grievance to the exclusion of others, quickly turns into censorship, the surfing of public outrage by those who make a career from exploiting adversarial politics, and ultimately the justification of further violence.   History is replete with examples of formerly oppressed groups and those who claim to be their champions, using this hurt to justify their own Human Rights abuses.

It is important that we do not allow our truth, empathy, and common sense, to be expunged from the public space. Rather, in the spirit of Frederick Douglass, let us ask:

Whose are the voices in today’s world that go unheard? 

Who is spoken about in the media without being given a right of reply? 

Who and what structures, assumptions, and views are never, ever challenged?

Gearóid Duffy,

Lee Road, Cork

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