An Irish Tongue

Guitan didn't understand what all the fuss was about. Some people thought that in itself was enough to prove their point. Guitan was a lunatic, a dimwit, a moron; he couldn't even add two and two together, so why should he be allowed to vote.

To be perfectly honest, I hadn't believed the story when I first heard it. True, Mayor Demille wasn't exactly tolerant of people he considered of inferior status. But since I was included in his list I'd got quite used to it. But this latest pronouncement was taking things too far.

Guitan had spent most of his life in Gensdouce. His parents had been killed in a car crash. In the disarray that followed the accident, nobody thought there might be a baby inside the car. Sounds of crying were heard and he was fortunately pulled out of the wreckage seconds before the car exploded. That was the first and only time Guitan succeeded in speaking up for himself. He came to live in Gensdouce with an aunt who did her best for him. But there was little that could be done. Withdrawn and unable to connect with other people, Guitan was pushed from one institution to another. Things usually went well for a time before rapidly deteriorating. Now 27 years old, he was back in Gensdouce. He had no qualifications, although he was an excellent odd job man, and could repair almost anything you gave him.

I wasn't actually at the meeting that evening, so the first I heard of it was when I saw the headline in The Republican the next morning. Illiterate birdbrain denied the vote. There followed a quote from Mayor Demille: 'If people cannot even read election pamphlets, then how can they make up their minds?'

It didn't take long for us to find out what this was all about. Mayor Demille was invoking a 17th Century law to get Guiton banned from voting in the upcoming local elections. It took us almost two days to actually find the stipulation he was evoking and its abusive and degrading language was offensive in the extreme. What worried us even more, is that the clauses failed to define any exact state of lunacy. It could be applied to almost anyone who didn't read or who failed to obtain the brief - the basic qualification everyone was expected to obtain before leaving school.

It took us just a few hours to get up a campaign against such a monstrous measure. Guitan had done several odd-jobs for us at the centre, so I wanted to do what I could for him. But it was not just because he was one of ours, or had helped us in different ways. No! Here a man's basic right to cast his vote was being violated, and something had to be done about it. We decided on a two-prong attack. Firstly, we would do all we could to check the validity of this arcane and more than mysterious law. But we also decided to take our cause directly to the people, organising meetings and holding demonstrations in front of important public buildings. Our efforts quickly earned us a mixed reputation. Some saw us as rabble-rousers, others as latter-day freedom-fighters.

The climax came at a packed public meeting organised by Mayor Demille. It was make or break for us and we were well aware that the public would be largely hostile. I had determined to stay fairly quiet. My French, whilst adequate for most purposes, was not really up to a highly charged public meeting. In addition, my own position was a delicate one, since the Mayor had also led a campaign to stop members of European Community countries themselves voting in the same elections. Should I attack him, I might be seen to have ulterior motives, ultimately damaging our cause. Our speakers, however, made little impression and when Mayor Demille's closing speech whipped up even greater animosity, the temptation became more than I could stand. I may not have the eloquence of some my colleagues but I did have my red hair and my wife's hand firmly in my own. I swept up and proceeded to give the Mayor a piece of my Irish tongue. He was stunned. I was stunned. All of my friends were stunned. Indeed, the only person in the room who wasn't stunned was Morgana. Passion was the only way to win this debate, and Morgana knew I had passion.


Passion is a wonderful thing, isn't it? Nicely told tale.

11 February 2009 at 16:40  

I haven't been around in a while, you always tell great stories. I really liked this one, an Irish hero fighting for the rights of the underdog!
Happy 3WW!

11 February 2009 at 20:55  

Interesting development of your character.

12 February 2009 at 03:11  

But, but...did Guitan get to vote or not?

Good job!

13 February 2009 at 08:05  

You can find out whether or not he got the vote, next week.

13 February 2009 at 08:08  

it's a fine line to sit down or stand up

13 February 2009 at 17:34  

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