or My Quest for World Peace
Hilary Mantel blew Margaret Thatcher’s brains out in fiction last year and exploded them joyfully over the faces of her encircling Tory retinue. They’re still wiping bits of her cerebrospinal fluid off their faces to this very day, I’ve heard (tastes like chicken soup, apparently). Be that as it may, I personally feel that Hilary took the chicken’s option. The easy way out.
Margaret Thatcher stopped being Prime Minister way back in 1990 and people actually celebrated her death only in 2013, a mere two years ago, whereas Enda Kenny is still the reigning Prime Minister of Ireland. It was rather cowardly on Hilary’s part, I posit, for not killing her while she was still alive and kicking the poor i.e. I win. (Although, granted, Enda K, may well technically be dead what with all those maggots streaming continuously from his face-orifices anytime he appears in public these days. I’ll give you that). I still win though.
Thus, Hilary Mantel’s short story, ‘The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher’, inspired me to initiate an art project in which writers from all over the world would take Hilary’s inspiring lead in turn and start killing Prime Ministers of their choice in fiction one after the other until there were none left with a single breathing brain cell to their name, as part of the global campaign for world peace; Killing For Peace. That’s what I’ve called it pro tem. Even the Tories (Fine Gael in Ireland), surely, would approve of such a leitmotif.
Obviously, being an Irish citizen, and after the recent German invasion of Ireland and Greece, I’m hoping the next Prime Minister in line for Hilary’s fictive treatment will be Angela Merkel. If there’s any takers. No pressure like.
Eventually, when all the leaders of our world are fictionally dead and buried, the plan is to hold an exhibition of all the assassination fiction produced from every corner of the globe in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kilmainham, Dublin, perhaps.
However, if the gallery doesn’t give its consent to house the resultant retrospective, then, of course, that too is okay as the campaign for world peace can stand outside this lovely art-space, with pen and paper in everyone’s hand, and blow it to smithereens fictionally live during the opening launch. Maybe even during the speeches.
Like Robert Barry said in 1969, “The gallery will be closed during the exhibition,” I now add, the gallery will be blown up during the exhibition too.
All levity must be put aside for now I’m afraid and no more, because my fiction, ‘The Assassination of Enda Kenny’, deals with the Irish holocaust, as it has now become generally known; clerical child sex abuse. A subject on which most Irish writers have remained quite silent. The following may be a bit upsetting for some, so please think twice before reading any further. Here would be a great place to full-stop.
The Irish holocaust I mention occurred during the theocracy that prevailed in Ireland up until the mid-1990s, maybe beyond (ISIS is not the first). In case people didn’t know.
What all this meant in practice was that the priests and other religious who had control over most of the schools the length and breadth of the country (and still do actually) were given free-reign to do whatever they wanted to pupils under their control. Which meant continual rape. You can read that again. Which meant continual rape.
And because the priests controlled the purse strings, the very well-paid and “respectable” people of my country at the time tacitly consented to the rape of Ireland’s children again and again. Teachers reported nothing. Which meant continual rape. Doctors reported nothing. Which meant continual rape. The police investigated nothing. Which meant continual rape. It was quite frightening really.
“They’d lose their jobs if they interfered, wouldn’t they? And their nice middle-class existences. Best read the paper and think of the new kitchen. “Yes boss. Of course, Father.’”
Previous Irish governments held tribunals of inquiries into the holocaust over and over again but always with the finger-wagging stipulation that rape victims were only ever allowed to tell their horrific stories in return for promising hand-on-heart that no rapist would ever be prosecuted. Their stories would prejudice the trials, you see. Got it? They couldn’t be told otherwise. Got it?
Since Jimmy Saville, the English and the Welsh at the moment are having the same pop-eyed epiphany the Irish have had and are still having to this very day. Apparently, even the simple task of choosing the chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales proved quite problematic. Every chairperson proposed at one stage seemed to have had links with the alleged rapists under inquiry. Unfortunately, that doesn’t sound preposterous at all at all at all but sounds very Irish indeed.
Well, that’s what my fiction is all about in the current bumper issue of The Lonely Crowd. Sweet dreams!
Camillus John was bored and braised in Dublin. Last year he was published in The Stinging Fly, long-listed in The RTE Guide / Penguin Ireland Short Story Competition and bionically helped St Pats win the FAI cup, for the first time in 53 miserable years, by shouting, “Come on you Super-Saints!” at an annoyingly high volume at crucial times throughout the season.
You can read ‘The Assassination of Enda Kenny’ in the Winter issue of The Lonely Crowd, which can be purchased here.
© Camillus John, 2016. Banner image, Jo Mazelis, 2016.