Reading My Way Around the World

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Lyra McKee

This world is a mess - and for a long time I've been struggling to write blogs because all I've wanted to write is political comment and at the same time I've wanted to keep this space a positive and bright one.  But I have to pay tribute to a young woman who was murdered on Thursday night.

Lyra McKee
Many of you will have seen the news from Northern Ireland in the past few days of the terrible killing of the young journalist Lyra (pronounced Leera) McKee in Derry on Thursday night.  Here we are back in the news, but for all the wrong reasons, again.

I cannot describe the feelings of anger and sorrow and fear that is permeating this land.   Apart from the sadness at the loss of this young life, a voice for the future, there is a sorrow for all of us.   We Cannot Go Back to this.    People are so angry, so afraid - I just want to cry every time I think of it.


was a freelance journalist and an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights for which she gave a TedX talk in Stormont a few years back.  She had a publishing contract for two books which she was in the process of completing about life here and she was ruthless in her investigations and criticisms.
This is a wonderful tribute to her from the Independent newspaper

Not In My Name

The  thugs need little or no excuse to start things up again.  But all over the country posters are up saying NOT IN MY NAME - most certainly Not In My Name!  Perhaps some good will come of Lyra's death and maybe, just maybe, it will be catalyst to get our power sharing government back up again.

The police were expecting violence as a run up to the Easter Rising Commemorations and right on cue a riot started, petrol bombs were thrown and a few shots of a handgun finished a young life.   Yesterday, Easter Sunday, is a day of celebration in the South of Ireland - it marks the day that the  1916 Rising happened which led to the Republic of Ireland being formed.

But of course, up here in the north, that means division.  Any celebration means division up here.    There are many who want to be part of that Republic, and there are many who see it as an abomination, an excuse to cause trouble. And in the middle there are many, like myself, who while  considering ourselves Irish, want to keep our heads down, fly no flags, be content in the status quo and get on with our own lives.

Up in the North West, in Derry/Londonderry they've always had a hard time and are rightfully worried about a resurgence of violence.   They are on the border with Co. Donegal which is in the south.  And the border issue around Brexit is adding fuel to the worries.

Which is it you may ask?  Derry or Londonderry?  Well,  It's actually both.   

When I worked for the BBC it was compulsory to say Londonderry first, then Derry second and after that it was up to you.   Thanks to a much missed radio DJ called Gerry Anderson it became known as Stroke City (get it?  Londonderry Stroke/ Derry!)
Derry is the anglicised version of the old Irish name Daire, or the modernised version Doire, which means oak grove.   The London prefix was added to Derry when the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I in 1613 during the Plantation of Ulster.    To the majority of people born on this island, Catholic or Protestant, it will always be Derry.  But legally it is Londonderry.  However to confuse issues further, the local council is Derry!   Let's opt for Stroke City!)

Then on Sunday I managed not to watch the news until late in the evening and saw the terrible tragedy unfolding in Sri Lanka.   That knot of fear and stress that we lived with for so long was back.  It only takes a moment for some thoughtless idiot, wanting to go down in history for some heroic deed as he/she sees it, to shatter hundreds of lives.

What an Easter.   And to top it all, Tom's been in hospital all through it!   Hopefully he'll escape soon.
Normal service will be resumed asap.


  1. I know what you mean. There are times that I want to rant on my blog, but I keep it as a sunny space. Have been watching the young Greta Thunberg with awe over the past few days. Arilx

    1. Hasn't she been just amazing Aril - a real inspiration to watch.

  2. So much sadness in the world, locally and internationally for so many people. As my grandmother would say 'I dont know what the world is ooming to'
    Sending love and blessings your way for some peace and tranquillity and happier times ahead xx

    1. The old people had it right didn't they Julie - this too shall pass hopefully x

  3. Oh Fil, I've been thinking of you with all those troubles happening & although I live on the other side of the world, it's so tragic & I actually "hate" watching the news these days. Nothing seems to be good, but there are snippets of good amongst the bad & I thing more mention should be made of them & maybe people will want to be noticed by that more than the violence. Hopefully the world will soon wake up to itself & plod along graciously. Take care & big hugs.

    1. Yes we need to hear more of the positive, don't we Susan - I think I'm going to join up again with the positive news blog hop at the end of the month. Thanks for your thoughts and take care x

  4. Dear Fil - my thoughts to you as you care for Tom as he recovers. Take care.

    I thought as we started the 21st century ... the world was a calmer, happier place and thus would continue on to benefit a great many parts of the world, whose peoples needed to have the opportunity to catch up: I despair at the ruthlessness of the need to power over others ... such an unfair and hateful aspect of some peoples.

    We really did lose one amazing woman in Lyra who was making a difference to the world. I just hope we can find some true leaders in this world - who want to help everyone and benefit humanity and the earth.

    All the very best to you and particularly Tom as he recovers ... with many thoughts - Hilary

    1. Thank you Hilary - he's well on the mend now.
      Like yourself, I thought the 21st century marked a new beginning - maybe all of this is the storm before the calm.

  5. I too feel the need to comment on all the evil I see in the US. I used to when my blog and I were both younger. I feel bad often because I don't do it now. I mute Trump whenever he talks on TV, I just can't stand to listen. The world has become a scarier place once again.

    I have read about Lyra, someone who was working to make the world better, killed. I have read about Brexit and the now open border between your North and South. It must be very difficult for you right now. And there doesn't seem to be any solutions. Hilary, above hoping for true leaders. I don't see any emerging.

    I hope Tom recovers and gets out of the hospital soon. Take care, my friend.

  6. You must not apologise, it is your blog and you are free to write/publish whatever you want.

    Perhaps there are many others who feel the same way, and perhaps one day, hundreds of individual voices like yours will finally make a difference. But who knows, "Ireland" has been so dreadfully complicated for far too many years. I remember the "troubles" when I was growing up, and the London bombings, a new friend who had moved here from Belfast absolutely enthralled on Bonfire Night because she said fireworks were not allowed when she was growing up.
    Thinking of you. x


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