Sunday, 10 June 2007

The Fight to Save the Rotterdam (update)

It's been a few weeks since I posted about the Save the Rotterdam Bar Campaign, so it's about time for an update.

Now when I wrote that post I tried to write a passionate and sensible piece, not just about the plight of the Rotterdam Bar, but about how soulless developers were changing Belfast beyond recognition. I thought I had helped spread the word about what was happening and how unjust the whole situation was/is. I thought the people behind the Save The Rotterdam campaign would have been pleased with a bit more publicity with their campaign.

I was well wide of the mark. See what thinking does, eh? The reaction on the Save the Rotterdam myspace was, well, less than enthusiastic.

"Hey, e fuckwit caling themselves welldonefillet called us wailing hippies! LOL check out the shit on
while they seem to like the Rott and all, I dont see them getting off their arses and joining in with us lamenting hippy types as we're referred to( funny how a hippy can run a couple of effin; businesses, and the rest of them likewise)
God, its easy to knock those who do the job when all welldone fillet wants to do is sit on their holes whining.
At least if we're going down.. we're goin' down with some honour as having actually had the integrity to fight for what we love and believe in. So, screw you, filletboy."

I was dumbstruck to say the least and at first I ignored it. I read and re-read what I had written and felt that there was nothing in that piece that I would change and there was nothing wrong with it. I had just been called a "fuckwit" so I wasn't in the mood for compromise. That was a couple of weeks ago.

But then I kept getting text messages and so on from friends and family telling me they had seen it. I decided that I needed to address the issue. I needed to put my point across that I was trying to help and that I didn't understand why they were so annoyed at what I had written.

So yesterday I made contact with the lady who responded on the Save the Rotterdam Bar myspace to my original piece. She wrote passionately about what the Rotterdam Bar means to her and her friends. Not just because it was their "local" or because of the great nights they had there but also because of it's rich history and it's importance to Belfast. If the Rotterdam is lost then nothing and I mean nothing is sacred anymore to the developers and money men.

I want to clarify and correct a few things I said in my original post on the Rotterdam Bar.

Writing "....I was more than a bit cynical. Lets be honest would the owners of the building really be swayed by online petitions and what they would view as "the lamenting voices of hippy types" when millions of pounds were at stake?" isn't really a very good way to help a fledgling campaign (as it was then) get off the ground. I apologise for that. At times like these cynicism isn't going to help now is it? And calling people hippies isn't on either.

And if that isn't going to help then "It's too late to save the Rotterdam...." is just down right daft. And again, I apologise. That was a very stupid thing to say when the campaign was just getting started and really there is no room for doubters, how ever well intentioned.

But more importantly the campaign has gone from strength to strength. There has been great coverage in the media both in Ireland including local newspapers and Hot Press magazine and local radio, and in England including a piece in last weeks Observer newspaper. The Campaign are urging people to do the following, and I urge you to do the same.
  1. E-mail and tell him to make the Rotterdam a listed building and state why you think it should be.
  2. Contact the Planning Department of Northern Ireland
    2nd Floor Bedford House
    16-22 Bedford Street
    BT2 7FD
    Tel: 028 9025 2903
    And share your opinions with them on why the Rotterdam needs to be kept as it is.
  3. Sign the petition
  4. Write letters to the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News, Belfast Newsletter, and any other local paper.
  5. Contact Stephen Nolan, he loves a good fight.
The fight is on! All ideas are welcomed! The fight has, and I don't often quote the Carpenters, "only just begun". It's building momentum but needs more people to voice their unhappiness and leave everyone from the developers to the planning department to the general public at large in no doubt that this is unjust, not needed and just plain stupid. When heritage is lost you don't get it back.

Now I'm off to think about what I've done wrong.

13 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

savannah said...

good for you, sugar..i do hope that they will be as quick to recognise your apolgy and support as they were to slam you earlier. living in a historic district i completely understand the issue about preservation and economic development not always walking hand in hand, but it can happen! people need to remember what it is that makes their city special and keep an eye on the future as well as the immediate.
be well and regards to LMM

Medbh said...

Manuel you did nothing wrong, and in fact, you only contributed to raising the campaign to save the pub. There's a tremendous difference between cynicism and realism. The fact remains the the developers DO win out more often than not. Your post alerted the blogosphere to what was happening in the onward push towards gentrifying and sanitizing Belfast of its own local culture and history. You have nothing to repent nor should you harbor any guilt.
It seems to be yet another case of sniping at someone who has the balls to cry foul.
Sadly, no matter what you write there can always be someone who cries that you didn't do enough.

ellie said...

It was gracious of you to come on here and give this a second airing after the comments that were made about you on on the myspace, will the author there re-evaluate their opinion on reading this newer post? I hope so!

Manuel said...

Settle petals. I did make mistakes in my first post. To condemn with cynicism a protest before its even off the ground is unfair. Especially when its a campaign you support. And a comment realting to my not being a fuckwit has indeed been posted. They need to be concentrating on the big issue and not me. The people involved are under pressure and finding the going tough juggling work/private/protest life.

I have been in contact with them and all is cool now.

fatmammycat said...

Good that it's gravy baby and fair play to you for beng grilled enough to admit you made a hash brown of your original pot roast.

(I'm sorry about the pictures)

Steve said...

Maybe those guys just didn't score well on their Reading Comprehension tests in school. You clearly weren't calling them hippies, so I hope they man up and apologize for slamming you like that.

Conortje said...

I actually came across the article in Hotpress and it made me think of you (I had never heard of it before reading your first post).

Old Knudsen said...

Ha Ha they got you to flinch.

savannah said...

i adore being called Petal :D

paddy said...

I've become a mystic these days whatever that is, but one thing is sure as I said in my last post: "words and actions" can lead to other worlds you don't want to be in unless you can get back out of them in one piece. Now that you've made your peace I hope they respect it. If they don't they've got the problem. Don't tell them I said that.
Y;-) Paddy

whyioughtta said...

I'm with Steve--their reading comprehension is lacking.

I support the cause, but find protestors who attack their supporters...confusing.

Also, you totally put the "wit" in fuckwit.

Your Thatcher comment on Kav's the other day made me laugh my ass right off.

Manuel said...

fmc: i am ever so humble you know. And whatever perversions you get up to on your own blog is your business...

steve: all sorted now.

old k: i'll make you flinch me boyo

savannah: well there will be more of it then!

paddy: you know saturdays lotto numbers then?

wio: all sorted now. thatcher wasn't a very funny person. but its fun to laugh at her, in fact its lots of fun

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