Sunday 12 March 2023

An Irish friend wrote this about a visit to Wexford

Instead, walking down the Main Street, I was in the sort of artificial environment that a globalist gamer might have created on a computer. Hyper-stylised shopfronts offering pricier versions of the consumer zeitgeist were on every side, with the 'international' vibe being blatantly projected. While in every shop, it seemed the retailers were employing more skinny-suited gay guys than Ryanair.

However, contrasted with the Brightonesque, 'liberal Mecca' feel of the shops and hotels, every third doorway seemed to contain a Romanian beggar - comfortably seated with rug over their knees and cardboard sign placed in front of them, with 'I'm hungry' painted on it. But they certainly weren't lonely: groups of other Roma were standing casually conversing with them along the street, as if they were all engaged in some well-respected and venerable Wexford business that had been going on for generations. And indeed, I got the impression they were being made very welcome by the sort of people who now run the town.

As I walked on, very few Irish faces looked back at me, though the street was busy. On the pavements, African children who looked like they'd stepped out of a 'Benetton' ad, pushed flyers at passers by, while outside the former Dunnes Stores at the heart of the "golden mile," a group of hard-looking Asian or Arab men in their 30s, had set up a table with posters proselytising for 'Islam', as they dominated the narrow street.

Surprised as I was at these developments, new to me, I realised that the feel of affluence was all around me. Money was flowing through the place like electric current, and it dawned on me that the town of Wexford is, in microcosm, what the EU-client regime in Dublin want the rest of the country to be.

The shape of the Faustian deal that has been made, is already in view there. The money that the local authority has been spending, and that has so obviously been flowing into the bank accounts of the merchants and hoteliers, is the sugar they get for acquiescing in the borderless commodification of their home and, by extension, the relinquishing of any real concept of this place being the rightful home of a people.

What I saw in Wexford was the conscious abandonment of character and authenticity, for a euro-lubricated progressivist Disneyland, with the flotsam and jetsam of the world being eagerly welcomed as props by the self-preening, local liberalati. "Sad," as Trump might say.

1 comment:

  1. This is a historic document, the Gibbons of the future should find and read it. Thank you for sharing it, I've downloaded it and saved it to my archive of texts.

    I grew up in Timișoara but I've been living more than half of my life in Western Europe. As I grew older I became more fond of my visits in my hometown. Until I had a mini-shock this winter. Here's a sort of "report" I wrote to a friend with whom I spent my university years in Timișoara and who now lives in the US and visits Romania less often.

    "I don't know when you were in Timișoara for the last time. I seems to me that it has abruptly changed now, in the last year. It is one of the three European capitals of culture in 2023. Money has been flowing for some time now from the EU. They organised three New Year's public parties with a lot of money, laser shows, "famous" DJs (what do I know?). Huge masses of people on the streets, Bucharest television etc. I went out after midnight to have a glass with S. I think all Afghans, Pakistani, Indians, Sri-Lankans of Timișoara were on the streets, and they start being visible. They seem to work mainly in the food delivery business. Probably they are not in the thousands (though I have no idea) but definitely in the hundreds. Then I heard a lot of English on the streets, in the "old town" and I couldn't figure out its source: Ukrainian refugees going out with Romanians? tourists who came for the DJs and street parties? Romanian young people studying abroad who brought foreign friends home for Christmas holidays? They were all white and very young, and, as opposed to the Afghans-Pakistanis-etc who socialise only among themselves and walk in men-only groups of 3-4, these were in groups with Romanian young people. They looked like students but I could not figure if they live and study here of just visiting.

    "The rest of the days, as I sat at some terrace, I heard almost only English around me, maybe a little German. You almost didn't hear Romanian any more. But well, maybe it is normal, given the prices. Hot chocolate 13 lei (2.6 euros), a ride on the giant wheel 25 lei (5 euros) etc. I mean not München-London-Vienna prices, but maybe higher than in a "normal", "untouristic" city in the West. It starts to feel globalised, with no regrets or hesitations. I don't know, somehow I didn't feel "at home" any more, I could have been anywhere in Central Europe, I felt I lost the "intimacy", the bond, it becomes faceless. (I am aware that I'm growing old and everything that has appeared after I hit the 40s is a suspicious innovation, useless and dangerous.) I was surprised by the cosmopolitism of the young, the lack of hesitation at embracing it all, the fact that they do not realise that they are throwing something overboard now. I hoped that Timișoara would stay the oasis of intimacy, of home, of being among your own."