Because Love always overcomes hate / John Riley sings again

The San Patricios flag flies again

Ring the Bells on Paddy’s weekend

See yez in the streets


We are all John Riley

We are all Seán Ó Raghailligh

We are all love

We are everywhere

We are the Saint Patricks Batallion, el batallón de San Patricios

And again we raise our banner

As we stand another time with our Mexican brothers and sisters

And roar “Erin Go Bragh”, Todos somos migrantes, Viva la Pachamama


We are all John Riley

We are those who were driven “To Hell or to Connaught”

Those who buried their family under an old rock

Behind Ennistymon workhouse during the horrors of Black ‘47

Those families who were evicted those same days out beyond Doonbeg in West Clare

Those who stacked the famine ship’s dead as she passed NYC’s statue of liberty

Those who came to call the Five Points home

Despite the poor welcome


We are all John Riley

Those men and women who went hungry in Dublin 1913

Those same women and men who marched from liberty hall in ‘16

Those now resting in Arbour Hill

Those who said No to one empire

And said yes to ourselves alone

Both orange and green, united in peace

We are those who were not allowed to simply be ourselves

Share our songs

Tell our stories

We are those cold children huddled behind the old hedge in Killenagh

To listen, learn and pass on those very same songs

Albeit, without authority

We are those bound for Australia from Athenry

For taking Trevelyan’s corn


And still we remember

And still we sing

And still we cry


We are all John Riley

We are the sons and daughters of Etaoin, Maoibh and Cuchulain

And Diarmuid agus Gráinne

And Oisín agus Niamh, as Tír na nÓg

And Fionn and his Fianna, of brave and bold Gaelic warrior men

We are those standing in rivers

And supping from Saint Bridget’s well

We are Patrick, Eireann’s immigrant from Cymru

We are all migrants

Wandering and wandering

We are Mary Leneghan’s family driven from Belfast in ‘72

We are the Murphys driven from the same streets back in ‘22

We are the 14 left cold in the cold streets of Derry

That cold and crisp January day

Bloody Sunday 1972


We are all John Riley

We are those taken from Angola to Alabama, Cuba, Haiti and Salvador

We are those who heard a man say “I have a dream”

Who then marched and bled and won

We are those who heard those same words and marched from Dublin to Derry

Who also bled, but who also won

We are with the spirit of Ahimsa

Of Satish Kumar, Vinoba Bhave and the great Mahatma of India, Mohandas K Gandhi

We are Amritsar

We are Bhopal

We are that deformed and dead child left in Delhi’s dirty streets


We are all John Riley

We are the women carrying papas

In the high Bolivian fields outside Cochabamba

The woman who offers her first drop to the gods and proclaims

Viva la Pachamama

And who lights a fire to thank Inti

The same time as her brothers dance around the fire, an ocean away

At the crossroads in Spancilhill

All giving thanks to that which has given them life


We are all John Riley

We are those who stood with the poor farmer in todays “New” Mexico

We are those crossing those same worn tracks today

Not along nature’s lines

But those straight lines of the victors map

Those same straight lines that gave us Palestine, Syria and Iraq

And the subsequent whirlwind of today

We are the new arrivals to Ennistymon today

From Aleppo to West Clare

Without language or understanding of this “Brave new World”

We have been hurled unwillingly into

Refugees is what they call us today

Nowhere to go

And nowhere to go back to

Now our ships, all seven of them, are being refused entry by that statue of liberty

Because of the colour of our skin

Because of those old stories we were handed down since the time of Mohammad

And because of what coloured flags flly over the places we called home yesterday


We are all John Riley

Those whose time has finally come

That half of the tribe who are at last leaving the chains of bondage behind

To be themselves

Who have a different way of doing things

A softer, gentler way

Working with nature

Listening, and then communicating

Seeing solutions together

Remembering the rest of the family

Our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our abuelas, our tias, our nietas

Las mujeres, las mujeres libres,

The free women of the world

Yesterday a million men marched over there

Today millions of women march here, there and everywhere

But the time has come to take a stand again

Because love always overcomes hate

Resistance is love

Solidarity is love

Pachamama is love

They say in Barcelona

A feminist revolution is underway

With Ada Calou and her merry crew steering the ship

First time in over 2,000 years

Since the times of the Romans

Has a woman ruled the roost

And Smack bang in the middle of the world

With seven more rebel Spanish cities alongside

Then onto Rome itself

Even old Torino too

A different way

An inclusive way

A way that that wont cost the Earth


We are all John Riley

And again we remember Mexico

So to the Zapatistas, the Aztecs, the Mayans and Incas

Those in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador

Those speakers of Tupi, Guarani and Kaingang

We remember them all

And much more alongside

As they try to follow their own path

Their “Camino del Buen Vivir”

To simply be themselves, live well, live happy and live decent

To live with their tribes, their families and our mother earth

Sure isn’t that what it’s all about?


We are all John Riley

But once again we see that there are dark clouds forming out beyond

That wish to gather us all up into their “Brave New World”

And for that we must again raise that old green flag

With the golden harp and the letters as Gaeilge of “Erin go Bragh”

We are all immigrants

And women, and mothers, and daughters

And men, and fathers, and brothers

And black, and brown, and yellow, and white

And gay and lesbian and trans and straight

And happy and sad

And some believing in many gods

And others believing in none

For we are all different

But we are all the same

All beautiful

And all unique

Anseo anois

We are all here now


We are all John Riley

At that wall in Tijuana

And at the few old bits of another old wall in Berlin

And squashed behind that prison wall in Gaza’s dry heat

And beyond that one at the old workhouse in Callan

And by the old peace wall up the Falls in Belfast

And beyond Derry’s old wall, a community packed down into the rebellious Bogside

And behind Mountjoy’s high walls, where wild Brendan used sing

Or further down the Canal, down Sheriff Street way

Where the old wall by the water was finally pulled down

Or up in Grangegorman, where walls of pure terror and fear used stand

Or by those cold and lonely stone walls in the wild lands, west of the Shannon

Or those walls alongside sad Kurdish mountain paths, where famished families flee today

Or those shivering from both coldness and fear

In one of those packed little boats in high Mediterranean waves

Or stuck in a camp with nothing to do and nowhere to go

Or, perhaps, with those happy and free out in the mixed streets of Toronto

Or with those united and strong in a sea of pink pussyhats down Texas way

Or with those indignant comrades near Wall Street in that great city of welcomes

Or with those risking all and building peace in the high Colombian hills

Or with those sharing stories and books in the cobbled streets of old Havana

Or with those banging pots and saying no more

From Europe’s cold volcanic island

To the packed public squares of her Mediterranean shores

Or with those smiling and singing Tashy Delek in Dharmasala, with a pleasantness so deep

Or with those working hard and saying nee how mah in the land of the Tao

Or with those in Angola and Ethiopia

Who Jamaican Bob sang for and with

Telling us that it’s a war!

For all of them and more

We are all John Riley

And I am John Riley

And John Riley is you

And its time for all of us together

To take up Vinoba’s old call

To build up that peace army

To get organized

And to get to work

Because we know we can win

And we will win

We are winning

Gamon new lamb

Viva la Pachamama



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s