Belfast Telegraph

Summat's up, but will any good come of G8 bash here?

By Nuala McKeever

So, the top eight leading economies are sending their big cheeses to Fermanagh next June for summat, sorry, a summit. Great! Or should that be Gr8?

Whatever, they're coming. All eight of the biggest economies, apart from two of them, China and Brazil, who are second and sixth respectively, but for some reason aren't included. Go figure.

The camp is deeply divided on whether or not this is the best thing since the last best thing, or the worst thing since unsliced bread.

The Pros are shouting about Investment! Jobs! Showing off our beautiful natural scenery! Putting the West on the global map! (That's the West, as in West of the Bann, not the West as in the Developed world) Tourism! Money! Prestige!

The Antis respond with: "World leaders only interested in global capitalism at the expense of ordinary people and the earth's natural resources!" (As is often the case, it's harder to find a succint placard-sized line when one's thoughts are not entirely black and white but rather a more considered grey.) No investment or Jobs Gonna Come from It! War-mongerers aren't welcome.

A man described as a Donegal independent activist, Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig (he'd never get all that on a placard) has called for people to protest at the summit.

The responses to his article in a Donegal newspaper are split between the: "Why does every positive story about our wee province have to be turned into a negative?" and the: "He's right, we shouldn't be welcoming this carve-up group to Ireland at all".

In the midst of all this word-slinging and vitriol, I saw a line someone had put up on Facebook. It said, simply: "Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values, not personal gain".

Is it possible to behave with integrity when you're a world leader? If you need votes to stay in power, doesn't that automatically mean you will have to appease people you don't agree with, in order to keep their votes? You'll have to give up being who you were when you got elected, in order to stay elected?

I was delighted when Obama won the US election earlier this month and then totally dismayed to hear him condoning Israel's bombing of the people of Gaza, saying Israel has a right to defend itself.

How can this man who won power because he was on the side of the poor and oppressed, now actively support those who keep the poor and oppressed, poor and oppressed?

Do I really want to welcome this man here? A man who has so much power that his words can actually better the world, (Values) but who has chosen instead to appease Israel and all the millions of Israel supporters in the USA, simply to keep them onboard? (Personal Gain). I don't say "Jews" because lots of Jewish people do not support Israel's illegal activities.

If it's not right (and most of the world and the United Nations deem it not to be right) for Israel to do what it's done over the past 40 years, then why can't Obama say so? Am I naive or simply telling it like it is?

See you in Fermanagh in June.

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