Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bloodshed in Gaza

Say Stop Today

Life on the Frontline. Who cares for the carers?
A puzzling question.
The al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza
On December 27, 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, a massive, 22-day, military assault on the Gaza Strip. The ferocity of the attack was unprecedented in the more than six-decade-old conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, killing some 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights reported that the offensive left 1,419 Palestinians dead, including 1,167 civilians. The Centre also reported more than 5,000 Palestinians wounded, as did the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The attacks in November 2012 also reached immediate almost unmanageable proportions and challenged the services, both physical and psychological, of the staff and resources of the hospital.
These major offences reached tragic magnitude. But due to this on-going occupation frontline staff are witness and active in the face of horrific and fatal injuries.
Dr al-Sahabani’s words illustrate the traumatic scenes that filled the emergency room of the al-Shifa hospital when he spoke with the Electronic Intifada about the tragic bombing of the al-Dalu family in their home which killed ten members of the family and two neighbours
“Most of them arrived with their brain matter outside of their skulls”
How do people at the frontline of the most traumatic scenes imaginable deal with the trauma that they have to endure and wonder if they will have to deal with again?
These were the questions, amongst others, that were at the fore of our minds when we visited the al-Shifa Hospital.
During Operation Cast Lead the Mosque opposite the entrance was destroyed. It is due to the tenacity of the people that, despite the lack of supplies due to on-going limits on imports allowed into Gaza, they have now rebuilt it. As we passed by the Mosque one of the staff that worked at the hospital during Operation Cast Lead told us that three doctors and two nurses, that were colleagues of his, were killed as they awaited a taxi to head for home after their days work.
We were warmly greeted as we arrived at the hospital and despite the staff being busy people were happy to speak with us and show us the conditions that they need to work under in providing a vital service to the Gazan people who live in the most densely populated area in the world.
We spoke with Dr Hassan who has worked at the frontline in the Emergency Department during Operation Cast Lead and Pillar of Cloud. He is a quietly spoken man with a wealth of expertise and he detailed the scene and the injuries that they were presented with as did one of the nursing department who described the practical challenges due to the horrific demands on a limited service. He described what they had to endure and how they remain constantly prepared for this for the future as they feel that they live in a constant state of uncertainty.
Dr Hassan described that at times similar to those detailed above that they feel as if they are “fighting a fire”. He stated, “…we just keep going without eating or even drinking”. We asked him what supports there are in place in order for them to be able to express and process what they have witnessed. Till this point Dr Hassan had spoken very fluently and fluidly about what their roles and work entails. Our question caused him to look puzzled and he asked that we repeat it twice, each time he interpreted it as us asking what supports they provide for the injured. When he finally understood what we were asking he became silent and remarked that he had never been asked this and that it was in fact “a very strange question and I would like to think about it because I don’t know what to say”.
As he reflected more about this Dr Hassan said that he thinks that the emotional and psychological difficulties that people experience most here are depression and anger. When we asked him how these manifest themselves in the staff at the frontline. He replied that “people go around blank or the just shout and scream”. He said that for those who shout and scream “we tell them to go outside and have a drink of water top calm down and then they come back inside to work”. “There’s no time for anything else at the time of these attacks we just have to work till we can’t work any longer and get a little sleep and return”. When asked if, when things settle down, that they talk about it and he said no. He said that the way that he and most of the staff manage is to “forget about it, leave the work at the hospital, watch TV and go to the sea. The sea is the best”.
Viewing the different departments where blood supplies are low, services including biochemistry, pathology and scanning are run, to the best of what is available, in a manner which the staff themselves wish were more efficient. Neither health professionals, administrative staff, paramedic staff nor civilians needing to attend the medical departments are, during times of conflict, or at any time living in Gaza, having their needs met. That said the morale, strength, and tireless work done by the health workers in Al-Shifa and all of Gaza to save the injured from death and to provide support where needed to all but themselves is beyond belief.
The current situation with the almost total destruction of the tunnels, which many of the hospitals rely upon for the importation of vital medications including analgesia, anaesthesia, and chemotherapy drugs and the closure of the border at Rafah, is very concerning for the staff who spoke with us. “We just have to do what we can with what we have”. With this optimistic, yet acceptant attitude, in the face of the possibility at any moment of a situation that may stretch their reserves beyond what is manageable it is incredible that staff find reserves within themselves to continue. It is perhaps testament to faith and allegiance to their people.
Spending time in the hospital was a humbling and disquieting experience.
Eileen Carr on the Welcome to Gaza Convoy 2013
Photographs courtesy of Annamaria Bruni

Eileen Carr 089 4960971 
She needs money and helpers.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to school? Christmas coming

 Wall art..This is who we are!
Gone is the Dublin pet stores at the bottom of Capel St.
I remember they had a Mynah bird there years ago that was a great talker.

Sad sad news in the papers today, an Indian man who has been living here in Ireland crashed his car and when the Garda investigated they found the dead bodies of his 2 sons aged 5 and 10 years in the trunk of the car.In this instance the Garda have stated that they are not aware of any division within the family
Fathers are often so shut out in divorce separations that the snap with the most horrendous results.

All that can be done now is to say a short prayer for them all.

A traveler man engaged me to drive him to Bus Aras from the ferry, there was €16 on the meter when we arrived and he said that he had to get cash from the bank link, he walked around the corner and never came back...Still someone else came out and I made the money back.
The traveler dropped a sim card on the floor, so I can assume he had stolen a phone on his way across on the ferry.
In the morning I got 2 HailO fares of over €30each, so it is snakes and ladders
Not too bad really.

Christmas is coming.....Its official.
M&S have put Christmas crackers on the shelves in their store in the Square in Tallagh.
The "Back to school" rush is on in Tesco and many other stores.

A story that caught my eye came from Car Mechanics magazine.This reflects the sorry situation some people find themselves in.He said in the dealers diary how a neighbour had been buying  Jaguar cars for years. Trading up every few years and this year he bought a Jaguar XJ a beautiful car with alloy wheels and all the bells and whistles on it. A few months later the car vanished from his drive and it didn't come back.
The word went out that it had been a`faulty car and had been taken back by the makers. But no other car appeared in the drive.
A few months later it surfaced in some trade literature as coming up for auction. The writer went to see it.
It was the same XJ complete with the owners personal effects still on board.
It had been stored for 2 months and didn't look the best.
The writer of the article reckoned the car had cost him £60,000.
Now it was to be auctioned off and he found out that there was a reserve price of £26,000 on the car.
Since the writer of the story didn't win the lottery he couldn't buy it and give it back to its proud owner.

But that is life in these hard times.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ennio Morricone

Tonight in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmanham Ennio Morricone will perform.

Lets hope it stays dry as umbrellas will not be allowed into the open air venue.

Its a pity it was not held in the Point which is dry and there are good acoustics 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Monsoon weather

The floods today were epic. It was like the rains of India.
Perhaps not as bad though because no one died.

Things were hopping and so was I from one job to the next.
I got a Hailo job which was badly located.
By that it I mean it was hard to figure out where the customer was.
Then he rang me and he figured that 12 minutes would be too long to wait.
So I told him that he was very welcome to cancel, because there was hundreds of people looking for taxis in this deluge and I would be logging off the system now..
As it turned out He was at Yahoo in East Point business park.
I could have picked up 10 fares getting to him..
Even at Yahoo someone else tried to take the taxi.
So we headed for Google in Barrow st.and when we landed there there was a flood on Shelbourne Rd.
So my crew abandoned me to walk and I did a quick U turn brought me back to Google where they were all very happy to see me.
Then we weree off to the airport via the port tunnel. (taking no chances)
A Polish lad who works for Google and we had a great discussion about the HailO app and how well it works.
As he had not yet put it on his fone I explained how the divers code works.
You register your credit card details and then put in the driver code WKBTU and then you get €5 off the first time you use it. Plus you get a text to your fone and an email to your inbox,very handy when you are on expenses."Let me write down that code" he said borrowing my pen.
After he had written down the code I asked him if Google paid him well?
"Yes they do" he said.
"Then buy your own pen" I said with my hand out to take it back.
Loads of laughs.
Not only is he playing rugby here but he wants to learn to speak Irish.
Some people would shame you, like the Polish girl in the Flyers Cafe in the Kesh at the airport.
She asked me how to say a few words in Irish a few years ago now she can now hold a conversation in Irish.
and why not?

Was it the Normans who came over and became "More Irish than the Irish themselves" ?

Just a word to the wise.
When I was on holiday I ran up a "Roaming charge" of over €110 I didn't think they could charge you Roaming charges in Rome...But they did.
Look at the website of your telecom provider and put in their code to reduce your charges.
But an EU directive has reduced charges in the meantime.

Taxi driver kills himself

A Dublin taxi driver lies in Shangannah cemetry today.
He killed himself in a most cruel way,
It was so horrific that I will not go into the details.

There is help to be found, look for it.

It is the ones you leave behind who really suffer.
It is not a thing that you think of when you reach the end of your rope.
Please think of the people who need you, your children, your friends. 
Cut back on the drink, that makes things much worse.
Go to your doctor, he is trained to help.
If this job was like many other professions where the work and the rewards were constant it would go some way to helping the situation.
Stop listening to RTE radio 1 Joe Duffy moans all the time about the problems of the world, yet he offers no soloutions or does he tackle any of the problems. Adrian Kennedy the same.
Listen to Lyric FM or some other classical music station. BBC radio 4 and 4 extra are great stations.
Buy a few Beatles CDs they are going for €1 each in the charity shops.
I am not a professional by any means,just talk to one of them.

I had a young guy in the car who had just finished his job in a really big progressive company that very day.
He saw the Samaritans card which I carry on the dashboard of the car and he told me that he was often suicidal many times in the past.
He had a "good" job with a big company, but they were not paying them very well.
He had his own place but the bills mounted up and sometimes he had not enough money to feed himself.
He rang the bank and the credit card company and did a deal with them.

So he had quit his  job and was going back to college.

I hope Robin will inspire you

Come on be just be the BEST taxi driver

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A crash and a good deed

         Heuston station, nice and empty
           Mustang  Ready to Goooooooooooooooo!

         He should have been looking at the lights.One of the women looking on was urging him to lie down and pretend he was hurt.The video cameras on the Luas will tell the whole story.
It has been a long time since I saw an accident.

Riverdance did a Jig across the Sam Beckett bridge on Sunday

I have lost the piece of paper. But it is a Guinness world record for people dancing in a line.
.More than 1,600 dancers.

The "Carpetbaggers" are cleaning up just now.
The Trinity Capital hotel was bought by an Irish American billionaire for €35 million. Mr Malone is the largest land owner in the USA with 2.2 million acres.
The Morrison hotel and was sold to Russias richest woman for €22 million.
While the new Marker hotel and apartment block went to a Swiss company for €30 million.

You know Nama is left with the debt from this madness and we have to pay Nama,

Its not right.

In fact its not even moral that we should be paying the debts that the banks caused.
Is that too simple?

Two German girls to the airport this morning from Clontarf.
Hotel managers who have just finished training.
When we got there the meter said €20.40.
"That's great, €10 cheaper than the last time!"
I just said that not everyone is honest and perhaps the other guy will bring bad Karma on himself.

They were going to the airport to rent a car.
I hope they remember to drive on the left.

It is strange, I had 3 runs to the airport before 11 o'clock, not a bad run of luck

Later on I was on my way in to collect my watch which had a broken bracelet.

Coming back past an Indian lady who couldn't get on the bus because there was a buggy already on board.
I was feeling happy so I told her that my taxi was just around the corner and I would run her into town for nothing. She was surprised and asked me why I would do such a thing.
I told her I had a good morning, so now I must do a good deed to make the Gods smile.
God the little boy was 3 months old and only a little bit bigger than a chicken.
He was as bright as a button and he looked all around the place while I held him and she folded the buggy, a foreign lady and her daughter were smiling from ear to ear to ear at the sight of the little lad looking around.
When we were driving along I noticed her accent, she was Indian all right but from Mauritius,
"There is a restaurant in the Moore St Mall which is run by Mauritian people." I said
"That is my aunt and uncle" she said.
I put a photograph of her on the blog years ago, she will remember me.
It is a small world after all
She thanked me and told me that it was so good of me to help her.
The pleasure was mutual.

And so we parted.
God I wish them both a long and happy life.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Shit happens

      Inside the garden center which was an old print works in Cork St.
      The moon shines over Dublin bay
   This is a special bus with no roof, they use it to cut back the branches at this time of year.

I was at the ferry from Holyhead the other day and brought 2 young girls from California to the Navan Rd.On the journey they told me that they were studying in London for a month and were on a week off.
They decided to come to Dublin for a few days.
Well, when they arrived at the ferryport they were asked for their passports which were in London !
So they went back to London again to get them.
Now if something like this happens to you.
Get a courier company to bring it to you the next day.
As it turned out the customs people here never asked for their passports.
Perhaps they might have asked for it when they were going back, you never know.

Another lucky one I had earlier was when I pulled into the rank at the Westbury hotel to buy the Sunday paper in the shop just around the corner. When I came back the cars had moved up and I was now number 2 in line.
In 5 minutes I was on my way to the airport.
An American on the way to New York using AmEx for payment.
When we arrived I was imputting his card details when an elderly gent walked over and got into the car.
"What is the chance of that happening?" I said to my departing passinger.

Apart from that there was very little work on the streets.

Schools and universities are on holiday, soon the courts will close and the Dail will go home.
Still, it would be great weather for fishing.

Driving along my mind often wanders, you think...What if I had gone the other way?
Would my day have turned out better?
Or would it be worse?
A customer told me of a movie which I had not known of called

"Sliding Doors"

Have a look

Its a good concept for a film, though a lot of people don't get it.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The gambler and his minder

        A car from Victoria NSW Australia !
     A Segway tour of Dublin
                    Faces of ireland in terminal 2 Dublin airport. 400 or so faces, some well known others not.. Just an example of what we look like!

Another fantastic sunny day in Dublin.

As the song goes "In Dublin's fair city where the girls are so pretty"
Today they all look fantastic..

On the coast road into town this morning a lady waved me down.
All the way to Fitzwilliam Street.
She works in design. A very important thing.

Just as we were pulling up a man waved me down.
So I pulled over to the Fitzwilliam card club where a storage box and suitcase were waiting.
We loaded up and my passenger told me that there was someone else coming.
We waited and he knocked on the door twice then the dude arrived !
"The feckers didn't want to pay me.
Its my money I told them.
Here Charlie you hold it for me"
 He handed the check over and he waited to decide where we would go next.
The merer ticked on and the dude thought about where they would go next.
A few telephone calls later and we were still none the wiser.
Then he wanted a bit of privacy to talk so he got out and walked out of earshot.
His partner from the back leaned forward and started talking, telling stupid jokes..He told me that the other guy was a gambler and had won a substantial amount of money and it was his job to mind and protect him.
Looking out he suddenly noticed that his charge had wandered out of sight.
"Fuck ! Where is he gone? If anything happens to him I won't get paid and I will never get another job with them again."
So he got out after him and they stood down wind of me out of earshot talking.
A lady had pulled in and was amused by the carry on.
So she asked me to explain, which I did.
"This must be very difficult for you, not knowing where you should be going or not even knowing if the people you are dealing with are OK?"
I assured her that the meter was running and their suitcase was in the boot.
Then they returned to say "Heuston station".
On the journey talks of racing days and lucky horses were told.
The journey began at 8.10 and ended at 9.18 the meter read €34.10
"how much should I give him?" said the minder.

"€34 on the meter, Give him €40"

The odyssey ended and they went off for the train.

What did I think of them?

They are kids that hadn't grown up.
When you decide to gamble you don't drink.

They will go on until the money is all gone.

I will probably see the dude at the races in one of those society magazines with a dizzy blonde on his arm.

One other sad part about gambling is that people loose their homes and their businesses.

I know of a taxi driver who lived off the Malahide Rd., when the Fitzwilliam club opened up I would see his Fiat Scudo parked there from around 1 am and it would still be there at 6 am.
Then I noticed that his house was up for sale.
Later on the taxi vanished from the scene as well.

One friend of mine has a daughter with a great job, she is very good looking and clever.
Her partner and herself bought a house.
Out of the blue one day the bank arrived to evict them.
Her partner had gambled away all of their money and their house as well.
My pal had to bail them out using up all his reserves and more.
His statement to me summed it up so well.

"He is a treacherous bastard, thousands of euro stolen and nothing to show for it at all.
The big problem is that she is still mad about him and he will never change"

Then years ago there was a race horse trainer who owned a yard near Castleknock, I knew his widow and she told me that her husband had died suddenly. Within days the bank had them thrown out on the roadside as her husband had run up massive debts using the business as collateral.
Her whole world did a somersault.
Friends shunned her and others stuck by her.
She survived thanks to her children and while I knew her she introduced me to many jockeys and horse trainers from Ireland and abroad who would come to visit her, her kids grew up to be very successful people in the end as well..
I still wait for the phone to ring sometimes and a shaky voice to say "John will you take me to the Curragh tomorrow?"

A strange thing to say is that after all that happened she was an optimist through and through.
She was a diamond of a person, tough as anything and very rare..So of great value.

So today this Saturday Riverdance is going to take over the city.
The worlds biggest line of dancers ever doing the Riverdance right up and down the other side of the Liffey.
It will be in the Guinness book of records.
Then an open air performance in Merrion Sq for €10

If you want to read the whole story click here.
But our president has just appointed a lady of French origin to write his speeches.
Like he has shunned the wonderful orators who populate out green land.

I hope he gets good value for his €65,000 a year.

A president is a thing we really could do without .

That is for sure. 
Mr Obama is leader and president together and he is paid less than our figurehead.

No wonder we are where we are.  Mon Dieu

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cruising into Dublin

This small cruise ship pulled into Sir John Rogersons Quay this morning.
On the other side of the bridge the huge ship called the WORLD is waiting to depart.
If you would like to look inside The World and other luxury liners click here.
I got a call on the HailO system from an apartment beside the ship all the way to the airport.
He was heading back to America after a funeral in Ireland.
When you are heading home for a funeral the airlines really hammer you your trip costs thousands at the last  minute.But if you could only book in advance it would cost you a fraction of the cost.
Such is life.
He is based in Chicago, but is finishing a project in New York this week.
He told me of a project that he was going to launch in Ireland a few years ago.
It was worth €15 million and would have cost the Irish government nothing !
We had raised the capital and the people were ready to move. The only thing which we had to have was the Ministers approval.
Senator David Norris found out about the project and wanted to meet the team.
So a dinner was arranged and the Minister was invited.
Starting time came and passed, no minister came.
So we finished the meal and we abandoned the plan.
The organizer sympathized with my passenger and said "If they treat you with so little respect imagine how they would treat us"
Work for 80 people in the construction and continuing staff in employment full time all gone.

No reason or apology ever came.

I said that because it was going to cost nothing there would be no brown envelopes to be handed around.

The architect who designed the conference center is so annoyed with the attitude of the planning department that he will never build anything in Ireland again.

The royalties from our offshore oil were given away by corrupt government ministers. Our oil is being taken away with the least payment.
The only country that gets less than we do is Cameroon.

The weather was perfect for the last 10 days and this weekend we had the world championships street performers in Merrion Square and it is  FREE,,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Would you believe ?

Now for some more

George Carlyn knew it years ago

There is a very good site click here who shows you how the banks bend the law and he shows you how to keep your house in these hard times. The website is being updated.... Be patient.

Oh sometimes things come to light and come back to haunt you

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Dancing taxi driver

That driver was on the Ray Darcy show today

You just can't beat Dublin in the sunshine.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Run on flat

 On Friday I got  Flat wheel,I was fortunate that I could change it without any trouble.
A few tyre places are filling new tyres with a chemical fluid that stops them leaking.

This morning Club Med 2 came to visit Dublin.

 The Marque that became Jaguar

  Fastest Jaguar car ever built 213 MPH

 Hillman Imp....The first car I owned,

And they all lived happily ever after !