Events – Observations-Paintings
Our Kind (runs from 10 March 2016 – 02 October 2016 at the Hugh Lane Gallery, Parnell Square, Dublin 1) is a short film by Alan Phelan was commissioned by the Hugh Lane Gallery . The name of the film was drawn from the text of Roger Casements speech on his conviction. The film tells the story of a fictionalized future for Roger Casement had he not been executed in 1916. This film is set 25 years later in 1941, where Casement is in exile in Norway with his manservant Adler Christensen . They are visited by Alice Stopford Green, a close friend and former supporter of Casement. As the fictional story unfolds we witness Casement being betrayed by both as Adler and Alice paralleling Casement’s exile from his homeland, beliefs and the ideals of the Rising. The film’s title is drawn from the speech Casement made on his conviction.
Prior to carrying out research for this post I knew very little about Roger Casement. I have discovered him to be an intriguing, courageous and complex character. He was a person of contradiction a knight of the British empire with republican sympathies. A non conformist, an original thinker, a man before his time who believed in human rights in corporate responsibility . With the effects of modern globalisation these are issues we grapple with today.
Photos of Casement convey a tall handsome man of dignified bearing even when under arrest and handcuffed being lead into the Old Bailey. He was born in Kingstown, now dun Laoghaire in 1864. He was of Ulster Protestant lineage, and joined the British consular service, and in 1903 . He was sent by the consular to the Belgian Congo in Africa and later Putumayo region in Peru where he investigated the atrocities inflicted on the natives on the rubber production plantations. His report detailed how the workers were forced into labouring on the farms and subjected to horrendous punishments and mutilations. As a result of his work Casement gained an international reputation for his humanitarian efforts in both the Congo and Peru. His report of 1912 created an international reaction resulting in Casement’s Knighthood in 1911 he retired from the consular service in 1912.
Although having been a servant of the Crown, Casement supported the aspiration for Irish Independence. He joined the nationalist Irish Volunteers and travelled to Germany in 1914, where he sought to secure military aid and attempted to persuade Irish prisoners of war to desert the British Army and join the Irish Brigade. He returned to Ireland on Good Friday 1916 and was soon arrested by police and taken to London on 24 April. He was put on trial and convicted of high treason at the Old Bailey in London and sentenced to death. He was hanged at Pentonville Prison on 3rd August.