Stand silent for Ireland on Thursday

It's always easy to be cynical and believe me I can be good at it. So when I saw on Twitter (#IrishMinuteStand) that some people were trying to organize a protest against the bank debts that we the taxpayers of Ireland are expected to bear my initial reaction was to cringe. No one's going to pay attention and what good will it do anyway? This is just a pointless, possibly embarrassing, gesture.

The organizers want to highlight the people's rejection of the imposition of the debts of "crooked and incompetent banks" on taxpayers and that Ireland is being forced to "carry the full financial responsibility for saving the Euro."

The protest will take the form of a minute's silence at noon on St. Patrick's Day. {I presume they mean noon wherever you are, not 12:00 in Ireland.} The organizers are especially keen that parade organizers support them in their bid.

The cynic in me can't see that happening. I can't see any parade of size taking on a protest organized via Twitter. Besides a protest of such scale would need a lot more time to get it right. Twitter is fine, but it's not going to get a big parade to stop for a minute's silence. Such a protest needs organization, explanation and negotiation.

Still the more I thought about it the more I realized just how great such a protest would be. Imagine if Dublin fell silent at noon on Thursday. That would be great. But imagine if 5th Avenue fell silent on noon on Thursday. That would be powerful. What a TV moment!

That would be something else, something for Ireland's hangmen - Sarkozy, Merkel, Barroso, Trichet & Rehn - to ponder. At the moment it's not hard for them to ride roughshod over us because Ireland is a small nation. It would be great to show them that while Ireland is a small nation, the Irish are not. They would probably not be happy at being called out in Dublin, but I suspect they'd experience a cold sweat if they saw such a protest in New York.

The difficulty, of course, is that we (thanks to our elected officials) are largely responsible for the country's economic collapse. People here acknowledge that and we all know that those debts incurred by our feckless government's excessive spending are ours to bear. On our own.

What we reject is that those debts incurred by Ireland's banks, owed to German and French banks and other institutions are ours? Why should we pay for the bad loans made by those banks to our stupid banks? Why should we pay if Europe's regulators failed to act to stop what they could all see (more clearly than we could) - that entire country was becoming a property bubble?

Ireland's facing a generation of economic pain if the bank debts remain ours alone. The powers of Europe don't much care about that, however. They don't want their banks troubled; they don't want to be honest with their citizens about the role played by their banks in our problems; they don't want to ask their citizens to share the burden. All they want is for us to pay back those debts regardless of cost or morality. That is far more cynical than I could ever be.

Stand silent for Ireland on Thursday.

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