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Slugger O’Toole: Blogging in a Combat Zone

           “There was Slugger O’Toole who was drunk as a rule
             And fighting Bill Tracey from Dover
               And your man Mick McCann from the banks of the Bann
                 Was the skipper of the Irish Rover… “

     The question here is whether blogging is good for peace… in Sri Lanka?  in Kashmir?  in the Middle East?  Here‘s the start of an answer, from Belfast.

    Blogs like Slugger O’Toole and its offspring are a new diplomatic channel easing “the troubles” in Northern Ireland.  Author Mick Fealty conceived the blog a year ago as a sort of newsletter to the legendary sailor who went down with the ship, “The Irish Rover,” between Cork and New York in 1806.  Slugger O’Toole, the blog, was to be an open and independent conversation, a refuge from soundbite television, from established biases in the Belfast papers and “the limitations of the printed page.”  Widely read now in Ireland, England and the U.S., Slugger O’Toole overflows with Comments on the finest details of an ancient conflict (lots of back-and-forth this week about the wearing of IRA T-shirts featuring the image of a sniper).  Slugger is a space where new voices emerge, using both Gaelic and English languages.  It’s a place where “Catholics and Protestants are fairly comfortable,” Mick Fealty told me.  “At least they’re in the same room.”  Which is not to say that minds are changed, but Mick Fealty suspects that the rhythm and rules of his blog help people out of ruts.  “The dynamic of the blog keeps people moving forward,” he said.  “It doesn’t encourage people to linger over hurt or offense.”  He keeps a light rein on personal flaming.  Soccer rules apply: “play the ball, not the man.”  In Mick Fealty’s own comments, the polite, persistent pressure is on (Protestant) Unionists to put forth a vision of the future beyond simply “no” to (Catholic) Republican nationalism.  “There’s been a huge deficit on the Unionist side of the discourse,” he says.  So he combines honest brokerage with a certain amount of political judgment. For his dialog blog (diablog?) to work, Mick Fealty said, it is critical that it’s not a government initiative.  “Independence is the key.”  Also: serious mindedness, openness, emotional honesty.  A blend of detachment and commitment.  “And a certain amount of innocent naivete,” he added.  Listen in with peace blogger Mick Fealty, and keep an eye on Slugger O’Toole.

{ 22 } Comments

  1. Anonymous | August 10, 2003 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    a superb blog, and an excellent interview, mr. lydon. hopefully, this will emerge a trend in militarized zones where civilian perspectives are needed more than ever.

  2. Anonymous | January 5, 2005 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    database cataloging

  3. Anonymous | January 5, 2005 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    database cataloging

  4. Anonymous | March 4, 2005 at 3:10 am | Permalink


  5. Anonymous | September 5, 2005 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Network Security

  6. Anonymous | October 18, 2005 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    This Account Has Been Suspended

  7. Anonymous | March 21, 2006 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I found your page from google but i like it so much

  8. Vaggelis | January 16, 2008 at 7:37 am | Permalink


  9. RickVallen | March 13, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Nice post and blog
    Thanks for sharing

  10. Home Based Business | April 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I tried to listen to a few audio mp3s on this blog, but I barely hear nothing. Do I need a special player fot those audios?

  11. senuke x | December 2, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I am from Ireland and grew up listening to this tune. My favourite is The Pogues’ version.

  12. Hosting | March 6, 2011 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    thanks for sharing this thing, is very good.

  13. rodrigo | March 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Nice post and blog

  14. dizi | May 15, 2011 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    The question here is whether blogging is good for peace… in Sri Lanka? in Kashmir? in the Middle East? ‘s the start of an , from Belfast.

  15. Riod | September 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Great Post
    Thanks man, greets from Uruguay

  16. Fruehzeitige Ejakulation | October 6, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I just check this blog, I like the information, I want to say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. I will be your loyal reader. Ton of thanks.

  17. Christian Living | October 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    One thing I have never understood about Ireland is how there can be such violence between Protestants and Catholics. Seems to me they’re both overlooking Ephesians 4:1-6 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT in the bond of PEACE. There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as you were called in ONE hope of your calling; ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism; ONE God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

  18. Grow Your FamilyTree | November 14, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Blogging is important! Keep it up!

  19. Fluval Edge Aquarium | November 16, 2011 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Peace to Ireland!

  20. caregiver jobs | January 6, 2012 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    Regarding your post…

  21. Kreuzfahrten 2012 | January 19, 2012 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Blogging will chance the way to communicate, or?

  22. Security Ausbildung | January 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Blogging will help to establish democracy in the world