Wednesday, June 27, 2007


With Palestine approaching (and in the headlines!) I've been thinking a lot about war.

Now I've never been a big Linkin Park fan (except for their dalliance with Jay Z) mainly because I don't like the nu-metal genre.

However their recent video for 'What I've done' really caught my eye. It contains shots of racism, war, addiction and environmental concerns and a hook that says:
So let mercy come,
And wash away...
what I've done.

So I got the album. They have got the legendary Rick Rubin into produce it and I found much of it full of power, desperation and soul. I know my musical friends will slag me for this but just forget it is Linkin Park you are listening to and I defy you not to get sucked in.

Here's a track from the album called 'Hands Held High' It's a moving anti-war rally cry combining a floaty keyboard, arpeggiated guitar, choral vocals, and a military snare-beat.

Listen below with the lyrics from youtube. Keep listening to the end!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

An open mind

A glance at the news will see that the situation in Palestine is fragile. Hamas, the militant Islamic group, have taken control of Gaza. I'll be in Bethlehem which is in the West Bank. This part is controlled by Fatah who are secular nationalist group that want to make peace with Israel so should be safer.

I been reading up on the history of Palestine through the Crusdaer rule, Ottoman rule, British rule and now Israeli settlement and occupation. It's hard not to be opinionated in the light of some facts. However, I have always hated when people from other countries come to Northern Ireland thinking they know it all when there's no way of understanding the complications unless you were brought up here.

Check out Elias' myspace. He has an amazing story of coming from a place of hatred of Israel to a place of forgiveness and reconciliation. He watched from his house as little boys threw stones at tanks and the Israeli army shot back and killed them. Israel also took his families land away that they had owned for hundreds of years. He met and danced with some Jewish people and God worked in him. Now he lives to build bridges between Palestinian and Israeli.

(Allegedly this boy was shot by the Israeli army shortly after this picture was taken)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To the Middle East!

This summer I'm heading to Israel and Palestine.

Week 1 and 2:
I'm flying out by myself and meeting up with a team of people in Jerusalem to do some hands-on stuff. This will include work with Jewish kids, working in a hospital and street work as well as a couple of days touring around.

The ethos of the team seems quite pro-Israel/Zionist and I wanted to see both sides of the story so.....

Week 3 and 4:
When the first team leave I will travel to Bethlehem which is in Palestine (West Bank). I will meet up with some other people and work alongside Elias and other Palestinian Christians. We'll be meeting people involved in reconciliation work and spending time in orphanages and refugee camps.

I'm reading up on the history and current status of Israel/Palestine. I'm trying to maintain an open mind and will try and keep the blog updated as I process what I see there.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dream it all up again

On December 30, 1989, U2 were closing the Joshua Tree tour. During the opening strains of 'Love Rescue Me', Bono said:
"It's no big deal, it's just -- we have to go away and ... and dream it all up again."
They went away for a few years and wrote my favourite album of all time- Achtung Baby.

Well I'm making a similar annoncement on behalf of NEBO. We have our last gig in Lavery's on Monday night before we have a 4 month break. In this time we'll be doing our own stuff (including world travel, producing offspring and side projects).

So come along Monday night and get a fix before we go away and dream it all up again.

(ok the scale is slightly smaller....)

Friday, June 08, 2007


Have returned from outdoor pursuits. It's the best part of my job, going away and having great craic with the kids rather than just being their teacher.

The time spent sitting in the corridor trying to get them to go to sleep enabled me to finish 'The Poisonwood Bible'- probably the best novel I have ever read (Douglas Coupland notwithstanding).

It is the story of an firebrand evangelical Baptist minister's who takes his family to the Congo in the late 1950s, entwining their fate with that of the country during three turbulent decades. His determination to convert the natives of the Congo to Christianity is doomed by his self-righteousness and lack of cultural understanding.

It is a fictional account set during actual events in the Congo. The language is evocative and beautiful. Every page contains something you could meditate on.

A constant theme seems to be the relationship between America and Africa. America who has taken the African people as slaves, drained her of her riches, taken control of her diamond and copper mines and used ‘aid’ money to bribe her dictators. It educated and angered me to a much greater level.

“If chained is where you have been, your arms will always bear the marks of the shackles. What you have to lose is your own story, your own slant. You’ll look at the scars on your arms and see mere ugliness or you’ll take great care to look away from them and see nothing. Either way, you have no words for the story of where you came from…we are our injuries as much as we are our successes.”

I should have written more about Africa on this blog. I feel a soul-tie with the place and find it hard to write about it without getting angry and ranting and boring everyone.

My younger wiser brother, Davymull, has just started blogging. Check out his thoughts on Somalia.