I remember listening to Mario Rosenstock on Miriam Meets with his uncle Gabriel Rosenstock. I have a recollection that I may have heard it more than once in one week – the programme being repeated in the early hours during the week.
That was the first time that Gabriel Rosenstock would have registered on my own particular and peculiar wavelength.
Last November, we went to Túr na nAmhrán: Tionscadal Cohen(The Tower of Song: The Cohen Project) and left very impressed. Gabriel Rosenstock was one of the translators of the lyrics of the Cohen songs.
In the last few weeks, having viewed the Blog Awards 2014 Short Lists, I found Rogha Gabriel. I have been dropping in almost daily since then. My Irish does not allow total understanding and the dictionary has been called upon on more than one occasion.
I do like the sense of fun – spot the vocal smile on Enda Reilly at 1:30 through the Banana Boat Song. I like the songs being translated – a lot being of my time. I have been introduced to a poem – new to me but finding soft wood in the current me in which to be driven home.
I suppose that I am in the early stages of being a fan.
So when I read on Saturday of the invitation to the evening of poetry and song accompanied by some refreshment, thoughts went in all directions – would, should, could, what if…… The practical and sensible said that it was 160 miles away and so not feasible.
The real me, who hides here behind mixed messages, retorted that even if it was only 160 yards away, the inbred sense of not wanting to intrude; of not accepting an open invitation as exactly that; and, of fear of the unknown surroundings, would still prompt an excuse not to attend. Maybe they will be discovered at some time but the real me hammered home that, níl liathróidí agam.
Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies. The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights.
Society can only understand and control these problems through an open, respectful and informed debate. At first, some governments feeling embarrassed by the revelations of mass surveillance initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution to supress this debate. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing the truth. At this point, the public was not yet able to evaluate the benefits of the revelations. They relied on their governments to decide correctly.
Today we know that this was a mistake and that such action does not serve the public interest. The debate which they wanted to prevent will now take place in countries around the world. And instead of doing harm, the societal benefits of this new public knowledge is now clear, since reforms are now proposed in the form of increased oversight and new legislation.
Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime."