Can't Stand Losing You (Not)

This week Stormont has hosted 2 acts playing what is likely to be their last gig in Ireland this week… And I was proud to be there for one of them. The second one… the Police Concert on Friday night… spending an outrageous amount of money to stand in the open air trying hopelessly to recapture my youth, when I could have saved my cash and listened to the whole thing from a hundred yards away where my house is! Ah well, the foolishness of middle age!
But I was not there for the first one, on Monday, when George W. Bush and his gas-guzzling, gun-toting entourage brought the whole of East Belfast to a grinding halt as he popped in to meet the Folks on the Hill… I couldn't be bothered walking the 5 minutes it would have taken me to get to the gates of Stormont, be it to cheer nor jeer. And, by the looks of the TV coverage, very few people, were there at all. There was a widespread feeling of “What’s he doing here?” And none of the euphoria which surrounded Bill Clinton’s visits, nor the warm welcome that the people of Northern Ireland extended to the Queen recently.
I may have been a long term Police fan, even though it isn’t terribly cool, but I’ve never been a George W. Bush fan, despite the fact that he is a professing Christian, and, like myself, a Methodist (although I did read this week that he might be thinking about becoming a Roman Catholic... Any way of speeding up the transfer process?) I have never understood how his profession of faith in the prince of peace allowed him to take his nation, and ours, led by fellow believer Tony Blair, into war, without any thought of the long term implications of their actions and how to bring that war to a close. But at least we, and the people of America have the chance to eject our leaders via the ballot box if we don’t agree with them… And very soon George will be leaving the stage… hopefully with no encore.
However, let us pray for those who do not have that liberty, and continue to live under murderous tyrannies. Let us especially pray for Zimbabwe, whose leader, Robert Mugabe, shows no desire to leave the political stage. They are going to the polls again this week for their presidential run-off, but there’s little hope of change because of ruthless intimidation by Mugabe’s veterans. And with that in mind I finish with the words, not of a Police song, but a Zimbabwean hymn supposedly dating from their War of Independence.
“If you believe and I believe, and we together pray,The Holy Spirit must come down and set Zimbabwe free…”
Come Holy Spirit…

This was broadcast as Review of the Week on Downtown Radio's Dawn Reflections, on Sunday 22nd June, 2008.
Immediately after posting this the news broke that the MDC have decided to withdraw from the Presidential run-offs because they had been so badly compromised by violence.


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