A powerful response to gathering clouds

ONE of the phrases that we regularly used to silently, ironically, and with more than a pinch of embarrassment chastise ourselves for our foolishness after the Celtic tiger went the way of all flesh was “the kindness of strangers”.

Of course, the strangers we had to turn to, as Greece and Italy discovered as well, filtered their kindnesses through a business plan that ensured our calamity was, and remains, their opportunity. That mock, expensive kindness was a kind of cadaver picking that deepened the chasm between the borrowers — us — and the establishment lenders, the European Central Bank, bog standard bankers, national, super-national or just powerful commercial interests. This what’s-in-it-for-me kindness is one of the reasons our world seems to be in such turmoil.

Be that as it may, the world now seems more dependent on the kindness of a type of stranger we foolishly thought consigned to history than is comfortable. That discomfort is exacerbated by the scale of that change and the momentum it seems to be gathering in Europe. A personal response, one that comforts, seems hard to shape, hard to infuse with integrity or possibility. Today we publish ‘Fight the Fear’, a piece that agues that despite everything, we are better off than we ever were — and to ensure that situation continues we should be kinder to each other.

One simple, powerful response to gathering clouds.


Liz O’Brien talks to Niall Breslin about his admiration for frontline staff, bereavement in lockdown, his new podcast, and why it's so important for us all just to slow down.Niall Breslin talks about losing his uncle to coronavirus

Podcasts are often seen as a male domain — see the joke, 'What do you call two white men talking? A podcast'.Podcast corner: Three new podcasts from Irish women that you should listen to

Esther McCarthy previews some of the Fleadh’s Irish and international offerings.How to attend the Galway Film Fleadh from the comfort of your own couch

Whether you’re on staycation or risking a trip away, Marjorie Brennan offers suggestions on novels for a wide variety of tastesThe best fiction books for the beach and beyond this summer

More From The Irish Examiner