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Thursday, January 05, 2006 

The Humanity Dick Award

It seems to be quite the fashion these days in the Boggersphere to be giving out awards - ranging from the laudable to the questionable. Just the other day, we noticed Eamonn FitzGerald announcing as his Person of the Year Condoleeza Rice, whom he characterises as:
"Smart, tough, resilient, Condoleezza Rice ends a testing first year in office with the State Department relocated to the centre of American foreign policy making. That is a considerable achievement."
We (on the other hand) see it as honouring a public liar and brass-necked apologist for torture, and we suspect we're far from alone in this. And it may just be us, but we fail to see how a penchant for publicly brown-nosing Bush lackeys sits easily with this comment added to the end of a recent Rainy Day eulogy to W.H. Auden, and presumably aimed at the press reporting the news criticism of Dubya:
"Fifty years ago, he could not have imagined the "horrid, mechanical screech" we are now subjected to by those who are paid to "befuddle the crowd", but his words continue to reverberate. And, there was then and there is now "the suburb of dissent". It's where the bloggers hang out now."
However, and in keeping with the times, the Dublin Institute for Culture and Knowledge is pleased to announce the Humanity Dick Award for notable humanitarian works which better (in ways large or small) the society we live in. As most out there are probably unaware of just who this remarkable Irishman was, we delve into Wikipedia:
"Colonel Richard "Humanity Dick" Martin, M.P., of Ballinahinch, Co. Galway, Esq., was born in 1754 the only son of the Honourable Bridget Barnwall - a daughter of Baron Trimlestown - and Robert Martin Fitz Anthony of Birchall, Co. Galway. He was raised at Dangan House, situated on the Corrib River, four miles upriver from the town of Galway. His father's family, Jacobite in politics, were one of The Tribes of Galway, fourteen merchant families who ruled Galway from the 14th to 17th centuries. The Barnwalls were an enobled family of Norman descent based in the counties of Dublin, Kildare and Meath in Lenister. Bridget died when Richard was nine, and Robert later married Mary Lynch - another Tribal family - by whom he had sons Robert and Anthony.

Though both of his parents were Catholic, Richard was raised a Protestant in order to fight in the Irish Parliament for Catholic Emancipation. This he did with gusto from 1777 to its final sitting in 1800, after which The Act of Union dissolved it and obliged Irish M.P.'s to sit in Westminster, London. He continued his work towards Irish Catholic Emancipation till 1826, when he was found to be incorrectly elected. Emancipation was finally granted in 1829, much to his delight.

He is most famous for his work in connection with wanton cruelty to animals, which led to Martin's Act in 1822, and the foundation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Beyond this, however, was a very eventful life. He survived shipwreck on at least two occasions; fought in excess of one hundred duels with sword and pistol; had travelled extensively in Europe and the Americans in the 1770's (was present in New England when war broke out); founded Galway's first theatre; was present in Paris when the French Revolution broke out in 1789; divorced his first wife - who had at one time an affair with the Irish rebel Theobald Wolfe Tone - and was awarded £10,000 compensation which he threw away to the poor. He was on a first-name basis with many of the famous names of his age, Flood, Henry Grattan, William Pitt, King George IV, Queen Caroline, Daniel O'Connell."
(We'll direct readers also to this)

We have a certain personal connection to Dick Martin, but we're setting up this award in his honour primarily on account of 'Humanity' Dick being a fine example of Enlightenment values and a tireless advocate for good causes all his life. And most of all, simply a decent person. And so to our award.

The Humanity Dick Award for 2005 goes to the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, Mr. Craig Murray, whom we had the honour to hear addressing The Phil on the "Global War On Terror" in Trinity College Dublin back in early November. Mr. Murray is the very same ambassador to that beleaguered country removed from his post for daring to speak out about the appalling human rights violations in that country - horrors such as boiling people alive - and the support by the US and UK of this fully paid-up member of the Coalition of the Willing. Murray was subjected to a classic smear campaign intended to shut him up, but this conscientious individual has refused to bow and instead continues to fight the good fight from his blog. In his latest move to get the truth out, Murray has now openly flouted the British Official Secrets Act in publishing correspondence online (the 'Tashkent letters') detailing UK knowledge of and complicity with Uzbek torture, contrary to their own public statements.

The Freedom Institute's Dickie Waghorne likes to lecture at some length on the supposed "moral clarity" of the GWOT (listen here, read here), the perennial justification for each new wickedness to come out of the current US Administration. Given what FI member John McGuirk undoubtedly saw that night and reported back of Mr. Murray disabusing his audience of any notions that Bush or Blair give a damn about human rights, we rather doubt Dickie and his ilk would be eager to face the former diplomat in public debate.

Craig Murray is a brave and outstanding campaigner for human rights in Uzbekistan, and a worthy winner. We salute you, sir.

Craig Murray's website
Wikipedia article
Enron letter to Bush on Uzbekistan
Chris Floyd
Tim Ireland's Bloggerheads (co-ordinating blogger dissemination of the Tashkent letters)

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)



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