Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Pat Magee & Jo Berry: Listening to Your Enemies Means Asking Hard Questions

Thu 30 January 2014, 4:06pm

“The Christian gospel allows people to change.”

With those words, spoken this morning on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback, Rev Gary Mason, pastor at East Belfast Mission (EBM), expressed the hope that has kept him ministering throughout the years of the Troubles.

Mason was on air today because EBM’s Skainos centre had been daubed with sectarian graffiti, described on the BBC website as “anti-republican.” The incident, which is being investigated as a hate crime, was linked to tonight’s 4 Corners Festival event at 7.30 pm at Skainos, “Listening to your Enemies.” The event features Brighton bomber Pat Magee and Jo Berry, whose father Sir Anthony Berry MP was killed in the bomb.

Berry and Magee’s shared story is relatively well-known. The two have a relationship spanning more than a decade and work together in the charity Berry founded, “Building Bridges for Peace.”

There are many critics who dismiss the conflict transformation work of former combatants as cynical and self-serving. Those critics are also sceptical that those who carried out such acts of violence can ever really change. As one caller bluntly put it:

“[Pat Magee] won’t change.”

It’s important to recognise that many of those critics have themselves suffered because of violence. So a reluctance to “listen to your enemy” is understandable. As Jo Berry says on the “Forgiveness Project” website:

“An inner shift is required to hear the story of the enemy. For me the question is always about whether I can let go of my need to blame, and open my heart enough to hear Pat’s story and understand his motivations. The truth is that sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. It’s a journey and it’s a choice, which means it’s not all sorted and put away in a box.”

Rev Mason did not justify Magee’s actions. But his reminder that the Christian gospel can serve as a source for personal transformation, as well as wider social change, reflects the lessons that he has learned over many years.

Rev Mason and Rev Lesley Carroll from Fitzwilliam and Macrory Presbyterian Church, who is chairing tonight’s event, brought listeners back to Berry’s language of “a journey.”

The language of journey is helpful in understanding conflict transformation because it recognises that people may change at different paces and take different directions – but contrary to what the caller said – people never stay in the same place.

It is also often assumed that former combatants become involved in conflict transformation work because they seek forgiveness or an emotional relief from guilt. But this also is not always the case. Both Rev Mason and Rev Carroll referenced hearing Magee say that he has not forgiven himself. This is how Magee put it on the “Forgiveness Project” website:

“Some day I may be able to forgive myself. Although I still stand by my actions, I will always carry the burden that I harmed other human beings. But I’m not seeking forgiveness. If Jo could just understand why someone like me could get involved in the armed struggle then something has been achieved.”

The aims of the 4 Corners Festival include encouraging people to “cross boundaries.” That means visiting areas of Belfast they would not normally visit, meeting people they would not normally meet, and listening to stories they would not normally hear.

At an event on Monday night, “Is Christ Divided?” four church leaders shared their personal stories and reflections on division. But as the chair, Prof John Brewer from Queen’s, said:

“It’s not the people in this room who are the problem. It’s not these four leaders who are the problem. How do we get beyond these nice stories to the harder questions?”

It seems that the Berry-Magee event has stirred up some of those “harder questions”: questions about forgiveness, who has a right to speak, and who has a right to be listened to. But we should be well aware by now that there will be no easy answers. As Berry has said:

“In those early years I probably used the word ‘forgiveness’ too liberally – I didn’t really understand it. When I used the word on television, I was shocked to receive a death threat from a man who said I had betrayed both my father and my country.

Now I don’t talk about forgiveness. To say “I forgive you” is almost condescending – it locks you into an ‘us and them’ scenario keeping me right and you wrong. That attitude won’t change anything. But I can experience empathy, and in that moment there is no judgement. Sometimes when I’ve met with Pat, I’ve had such a clear understanding of his life that there’s nothing to forgive.”

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Comments (42)

  1. sherdy (profile) says:

    Talkback today covered this subject and a caller Jamie took part. I have no idea of who he is or what his experiences of the troubles, if any, are.
    But he was most insistent, almost hysterical, in claiming that people like Pat Magee never change, and is still continuing his campaign by other means.
    This Jamie sounded almost terrified that people might change over their lives.
    What hope is there for the future if there are many Jamies?
    But, conversely, when you listen to Jo Berry who has suffered grievously, you think that maybe there is hope.

    What do you think?
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  2. Framer (profile) says:

    Was the graffiti sectarian? Anti-IRA slogans are not yet categorised as sectarian.
    Or are they?
    I notice also Jo Berry when asked on Radio Ulster by Seamus McKee if she recognised that Pat Magee had not ‘disowned’ his actions avoided answering directly.
    Accepting that you hurt people is a million miles from believing what you did was wrong morally and politically and indeed hypocritical.
    And that is why reconciliation or forgiveness is not the answer.
    If there is to be no recantation, then the best thing, only thing, is to put the past thoroughly behind us.
    Chasing will-o-the-wisp projects like prosecuting the Bloody Sunday soldiers is the road to nowhere and just prolongs the agony as well as it being so obviously a legitimising strategy by nationalists and republicans. And the cost is enormous, even if England pays.

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  3. stewart1 (profile) says:

    Framer

    Hard to see how ‘Taigs out’ painted in big black letters isn’t sectarian.

    What do you think?
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  4. Turgon (profile) says:

    This double act of Berry and Magee always make me a little uneasy. The Christian gospel does allow people to change but not just Christianity. Secular society does as well. However, all require repentance in either a religious or secular fashion to avail of all the advantages of that change. Magee seems disinclined to repent in any complete sense (secular or religious) but would rather hold on to some of the justifications of his past life and wickedness. I submit that that failure has major negative repercussions for both Magee and Berry. That failure by Magee does neither of them any good trapped as they now seem to be in this partnership which at times looks like a voyeuristic treat for those with political axes to grind (for liberals too have their political axes).

    Ms. Berry is entitled to do and say whatever she wants: Magee by his wicked actions has earned that right for her not I am sure that she wanted it. She is, however atypical of victims. She does not live here and can pull out of social interaction with the murderers and supporters of the murder of her father. Many in NI cannot. Furthermore she has at least the knowledge that her father’s murderer has been identified and punished: many victims do not have that.

    Much more concerning than the unrequited reasonableness of Ms. Berry is, however, where this event took place. The East Belfast Mission has a long and honourable history of ministering to the people of Inner East Belfast. They do all sorts of useful social stuff and also provide a Christian witness in all senses of the word. They also attempt cross community work trying to reduce tensions with Short Strand.

    Much as I (and all right thinking people) condemn the attack on their premises last night I am unsure how beneficial to the Mission’s witness this event is. It looks a bit like playing to the middle class luvvie gallery and may damage their credibility with some working class (and other) unionists which would be a real pity. Their brand and credibility are probably strong enough to survive it but I would submit both socially and religiously they are achieving much more in their normal day to day work than with this high profile event.

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  5. fatrex.savage (profile) says:

    Interesting to see how the various factions respond to a restorative approach. It remains to be seen if down the road there is any substantive change in the respective communities

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  6. I dont know what graffiti was actually painted at East Belfast Mission but let’s be clear that “taigs out ” is sectarian and it does BBC little credit to report it as “anti-republican” .
    On the substance of Jo Berry and Patrick Magee….it can be no surprise that the Conflict Resolution people are intrigued by them.
    Jo Berry is the right kind of victim. She has suffered grievously and deals with the pain by reaching out to the perpetrator. She is also highly articulate.
    Patrick Magee is the right kind of ex-combatant. Articulate. Indeed he spent his prison time doing a university course.
    Is he now a PhD or merely a MA?

    So the combination of Berry and Magee will have guaranteed an audience of MA and PhD students. Dissertaions will be written, papers presented and trips to seminars in USA are guaranteed.
    I cant really work up much enthusiasm for Berry-Magee.
    But by coincidence the Ballymurphy massacre families were meeting the Irish Government today. Regular Sluggerites will know that I lived there at the time.
    Yet these working class victims are the wrong kind of victim. They do not interest the Conflict Resolutionists…because they want Justice before they can move to a reconciliation phase.

    Likewise, In August last year (Dr Ganiel was also in the audience…I heard a leading Conflict Resolutionist denounce the INSTITUTIONAL churches for their seeming negative role in the Troubles…and individual clergy from various denominations praised for their maverick nature.
    In this context East Belfast Mission would probably be accepted and lauded by Conflict Resolutionists as “maverick” and the right kind of Church.

    The great problem with Conflict Resolution is that it is unbalanced. Not necessarily to one of our two warring tribes or even to the third tribe…the “muzzled majority” as they were recently described.
    Rather they are biased to the “right kind” of people….people who will further their agenda.
    Victims who are in the Reconciliation rather than Justice phase….for many of us on both sides of the tribal divide feel that Justice has to come before Reconciliation.
    I must emphasise that I recognise that Ms Berry deals with her grief in HER way.
    Other very vocal victims have an agenda which appears based in hatred. But that too is their right.
    The vast majority seek Justice.

    But Conflict Resolutionist reliance on the RIGHT KIND of Victim, the RIGHT KIND of paramilitary….I recently I heard one peace activist refer to “progressive elements in the UVF”!!!! And the RIGHT KIND of politician and the RIGHT KIND of clergy is a distortion of Reality.
    Do they want the RIGHT KIND of Truth…..the RIGHT KIND of Memory.
    make no mistake that SHARING your pain with these people is a big mistake.
    Its not about SHARING your story. Its about TAKING your story.
    Denying you ownership of your own memory and locking it away in a university library….where only the RIGHT KIND of Researcher has access. …to produce an even better paper.

    What do you think?
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  7. And to add (sorry folks its been a long night for me)…..the Conflict Resolutionists want the RIGHT KIND of Artist, Poet, Musician and Dramatist.
    And the RIGHT KIND of (Peace) Journalist.

    What do you think?
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  8. Turgon (profile) says:

    FJH,
    The above from you might be seen by the Conflict Resolutionists as a diatribe. I guess it is and as such is not (to steal your terminology) “the right type of response.”

    It is however, the most common response from most victims and most of society. It is also the morally, politically and in almost every way concievable correct response. These groups will, however, continue to ignore mosts of society, most victims and most of the facts in order to get the “right” ones of each. What never ceases to amaze me is that despite being rejected serially these people persist. Actually it does not amaze me: they persist because there are moderately lucrative careers in this. As such until the drip feed of nourishment is cut off (funding) they won’t go away you know.

    On a final thought much as the violence last night (and the grafitti beforehand) was completely wrong it was utterly idiotic of the Conflict Resolutionists to have such an event at the East Belfast Mission on the Lower Newtownards Road. They would have been much better to have it further up the Newtownards Road: it would probably have been easier for the luvvies to get there. The Ballyhackamore and Stormont area ones could have walked or used their ethnic peace bicycles. I always think Ballyhackmore is sort of the natural habitat for Letsgetalongerists.

    One is left wondering if the location was chosen to add a bit of frission to proceedings, maybe provoke a reaction (no doubt much smaller then they goot) and as such get some much desired publicity.

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  9. Michael (profile) says:

    You guys need to be called on this. I can see why people gravitate to people who are ready to move on and accept the past in some other light than repercussion and “justice”. There can only be movement with dialogue and that has to start somewhere. It almost seems as if you would be disappointed if previously conflicting parties got into dialogue and actually listened to where the other side were coming from. If Patrick Magee is not repentant that may be because at the time he genuinely felt he was in a conflict. He may regret what he did – it doesn’t mean he is going to wear sackcloth as Paisley called for.

    The first step is for each individual, including all those who post here to own up to their own part in the troubles. We are not all just victims but by what we sympathised or failed to act on we (nearly) all perpetuated (and continue to do so) the whole issue.

    I hear genuinely little by outreach from one side to the other, precious little by way of owning up, and even less of reconciliation. This is depressing, given the amount of time that has passed.

    Reconciliation is not one side saying abject sorries but a step by step walking into admission that hurt was caused, that good people stood by and watched, that politicians riled people up and failed in their leadership responsibilities, that misplaced loyalties and fears drove inappropriate actions, and yes that some actions had logical if not moral rationale.

    I admire the East Belfast Mission for going out on a limb and challenging the people who think they own all the injustice.

    I dislike a xenophobic and patronising knee jerk to “outsiders” having a stake in this process. They do. They may speak in a way that annoys you but just maybe there is something that merits reflection – why is left up to outsiders to bring this to our attention and to poke in a way that moves the debate forward.

    Justice is subjective and right now the injustice in our society is the maintaining of poverty and deprivation, educational achievement and investment. It is insidious and much more significant in preparing the next round of conflict by building a pressure in the system that promises to blow when the moment comes (flags for example). Our societal DNA is now defaulted to blame all injustice on tribal interests.

    So believe it or not – keeping the current status of stalemate in justice, victimhood, civil rights to march or fly flags, to the detriment of action on alleviating the causes of communal conflict is gross irresponsibility.

    Letsgetalongerism might be the easiest target because it draws the ire of articulate conflict specialists on both sides – a common enemy as it were.

    Common cause wherever it is to be found is the only way out of this. I just hope it is not found on both sides sense of victimhood and lack of redress. For my part i think that the ball is in Nationalisms court because it is in a safer and more outward place. It has an opportunity to outreach right now and look for reciprocity after the fact, not as a pre-condition to the other side moving first.

    We have to find a common language and set of interests that all of NI can use before concentrating on the specific rights and wrongs of any individual event in the troubles.

    the desire to genuinely listen to other people’s stories before telling our own is part of that process.

    What do you think?
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  10. DoppiaVu (profile) says:

    “Some day I may be able to forgive myself. Although I still stand by my actions, I will always carry the burden that I harmed other human beings. But I’m not seeking forgiveness. If Jo could just understand why someone like me could get involved in the armed struggle then something has been achieved.”

    In other words, I did it but really it was all themmuns fault for making me do it. Pathetic, self-serving, we-are-all-victims crap.

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  11. SK (profile) says:

    “it was utterly idiotic of the Conflict Resolutionists to have such an event at the East Belfast Mission on the Lower Newtownards Road.”

    Bowler hatted men waving union flags should be entitled to go wherever they want, but the peaceniks should keep out.

    “This double act of Berry and Magee always make me a little uneasy.”

    Victims shouldn’t share a stage with terrorists, but it’s perfectly alright for Jim Allister to do so.

    Like many Loyalists, Turgon appears to be missing whatever part of the brain it is that processes hypocrisy.

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  12. Turgon (profile) says:

    Michael,
    “The first step is for each individual, including all those who post here to own up to their own part in the troubles. We are not all just victims but by what we sympathised or failed to act on we (nearly) all perpetuated (and continue to do so) the whole issue”

    That is simply not true. I am not a victim nor a perpetrator. I had nothing to act on and never did. Actually in a way I and almost everyone here in NI did act. We got on with our lives; had an education; got jobs; got married; had children; got old and sick and died. By the very banal normality of our normal lives we fought back in the only way avaliable to us. In that, by ensuring our society remained normal, we won a great victory over the terrorists of all sides. To have that now descried as us being responsible in some way for the violence here is a slur which is frequently trotted out. It is a lie and it needs to be described as such each time that it is repeated.

    John Larkin the atorney general recently pointed out that at the Kingsmills macassre the Protestant workmen who initially thought their Catholic colleague was the intended target tried to shield him. That is the essence of what almost everyone did. Those workmen paid with their lives but died decent and honourbale men in contrast to their foul murderers. Although the rest of us were not placed in such a position: by our own little actions we, neither victims nor perpetrators, can hold our collective nationalist and unionist heads high and state categorically “Not in Our Name were those things done”.

    There is much outreach here: normal people decently getting on with their lives. Indeed there is outreach in the agreement on all sides to dump the likes of Eames Bradley. There is much cross community agreement. Where there is not agreement is between the terrorists and the decent people of either side. We will not give Lenny Murphy or Thomas Begley a free pass from blame in death. Nor will we extend the same to Magee or Johnny Adair in life.

    You claim we need ” to genuinely listen to other people’s stories “.

    Rubbish. I do not need to listen to the self justifying whinging of Magee any more than I need to listen to Robert Black or Jeremy Bamber. You on the other hand might try listening to the stories of the majority of the victims. The hypocrisy of calling on people to listen to other’s stories and then only being interested in (as FJH notes) the “right” stories is pretty nauseating. I will happily listen to the Ballymurphy families story or the Blood Sunday families story even if it makes uncomfortable listening for me. What I will not listen to is Billy Hutchinson or Sean Kelly’s story.

    Trying to tie a refusal to wipe the slate for the murders to the danger of a return to violence is utter nonsense: dangerous nonsense at that. Telling minimally or non repentant murderers that we sort of accept what they did and removing the general opprobium which such criminals recieve is extremely dangerous. It is the best way to enthuse a future generation of thugs that if they wrap their murderous bigotry in a pseudo political cloak of doublespeak then one day they too may benefit from their crimes.

    The sort of position you advocate Michael has been rejected time and again by the vast majority of victims and the vast majority of normal society. You are entitled to whatever view you want and entitled to express it. We are, however, both individually and collectively as a society entitled to reject it.

    Our society has found common cause: the murderers were the murderers; the men (and women) of violence were the guilty. We, the rest, were innocent. That is the common language of the people of here be here Ulster / Northern Ireland / the North of Ireland whatever.

    What do you think?
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  13. Turgon (profile) says:

    SK,
    Utter nonsense.

    Peaceniks can go wherever they want. The protest was not against Ms. Berry it was against Magee.

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  14. Turgon (profile) says:

    Still sk thanks for posting. That you regard murderer Magee as a “peacenik” tells us all we need to know about you.

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  15. Dec (profile) says:

    Judging from the audio of the riot outside the centre, the ‘protest’ was less against Pat Magee and more against his co-religionists in general.

    Btw Turgon, I can’t help but feel that you need to turn the other cheek a bit more.

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  16. Turgon (profile) says:

    Dec,
    I have been hit on neither cheek. As such the comment is irrelevant. You maybe should direct that comment to some victims. Maybe direct it to the Alan Black the survivor of Kingsmills. The utter insensitivity and immorality of such a suggestion demonstrates its credibility.

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  17. Dec (profile) says:

    Turgon

    My uncle was murdered by the UVF in the 80s and another one was seriously injured so maybe you shouldn’t jump to conclusions about anyone who highlights your piecemeal approach to Christianity.

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  18. carl marks (profile) says:

    One wonders why the same self-righteous uneasiness does not affect some of our posters when the politicians they support stand beside completely unrepentant terrorists as they engage in illegal activities , Of course it is easy to hide behind faux Christian values (one can’t help wondering if these people supported Big Ian when he was winding people up with anti-Catholic vitriol) than it is to show actual Christian values (you know forgive your enemies) Magee and Berry are at least trying.
    Now here is a thought could all this outrage about people trying find answers be less to do with Christian Ethics and more to do with a desire to not have anything to do with themmuns.

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  19. Turgon (profile) says:

    Dedc,
    well I am sorry for your loss but the point still stands utterly validly. I oppose your relative’s murder as I do all murders (I trust you do likewise). However, to demand a victim “Turn the other cheek” if they are or claim to be a Christian is insensitive, immoral and scripturally inaccurate. The more so if (like Magee) the murderer is un / minimally repentant.

    As to describing my approach to Christianity as piecemeal: “Judge not lest ye be judged” I judge no one else’s Christianity and I would counsel you to do likewise.

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  20. carl marks (profile) says:

    Turgon

    First this
    “The more so if (like Magee) the murderer is un / minimally repentant.”
    Then this
    “Judge not lest ye be judged”
    (By the way i don’t think this just applied to a persons Christianity but to people in general)
    Really turgon are you not contradicting yourself

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  21. carl marks (profile) says:

    Turgon
    As to describing my approach to Christianity as piecemeal: “Judge not lest ye be judged” I judge no one else’s Christianity and I would counsel you to do likewise

    No opinions on the Mass or the Papacy then, find that hard to believe.

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  22. Turgon (profile) says:

    carl marks,
    Very weak. Magee is an open and unrepentant / minimally repentant murderer. He has admitted to his. Or maybe you regard him as innocent?

    Your argument would only work if Christians refused to serve on juries for religious reasons. That is a very minority position within Christianity.

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  23. carl marks (profile) says:

    Turgon
    Firstly I don’t regard him as innocent (cheap shot not going to work)
    Secondly I thought the man was already tried.
    Turgon why are you so frightened about people getting together to examine their past?
    You seem to have no problem with politicians you support working with unrepentant terrorists!
    All I am asking is why you so obviously have double standards (I don’t judge other peoples Christianity line is classic). Now I know I got a yellow card for daring to ask this question in the past but I will continue to ask it until either you explain this obvious contradiction or stop condemning people for things when the political party you support does the same thing.

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  24. Turgon (profile) says:

    carl marks,
    A Christian is still allowed to call a convicted murderer a criminal without compromising their Christianity.

    I am not frightened of people doing anything legal that they want to. I am, however, entitled to point out the simple fact that Magee is a minimally repentant murderer. The attempts to promote him and his interaction with Ms. Berry as some sort of icon for the future direction of analysis of the past are flawed. That sort of blueprint for the past has been consistently rejected as morally flawed.

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  25. carl marks (profile) says:

    it is noted that you avoid answering my questions.
    Magee committed a crime that makes him a criminal so less straw men please!
    Billy Hutchinson could well be described as a minimally repentant murderer, and the members of the UVF at Twaddell don’t seem repentant in the least, but unionist politicians including the TUV (which I believe you are at least a supporter of ) don’t have a problem with standing with them could you please explain how you can support the TUV and condemn Berry and Magee, it’s a fair question and a honest answer would be nice.

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  26. Turgon (profile) says:

    carl marks,
    On this thread we are debating the meeting which included Magee and Ms. Berry.

    I criticised the viewing of Magee as a blueprint for dealing with the crimes of the past. I also regard the lauding of the likes of David Ervine as equally repulsive. As to Billy Hutchinson I have consistently attacked the PUP in general and him in particular. I noted his arrest for withholding information over Thomas Devlin’s murder and a long time ago now rasied a series questions when a former blogger here proposed interiewing him.

    Trying to try the UUP, DUP, Orange Order, TUV or anyone else to the PUP and Hutchinson just because they have all supported the Twaddell protestors is attempting not guilt by association but guilt by physical proximity which is even more dishonest.

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  27. Turgon (profile) says:

    Sorry last paragraph not fixed properly:

    Trying to tie the UUP, DUP, Orange Order, TUV or anyone else to the PUP and Hutchinson just because they have all supported the Twaddell protestors is attempting not guilt by association but guilt by physical proximity which is even more dishonest. It is also silly.

    Following your utterly spurious and immoral logic the Bloodt Sunday families must all support the IRA as they appeared on a platfoirm with Martin McGuiness. I cautioned against and condemned exactly this sort of flawed and immoral logic from unionists at the time of the Saville Enquiry report.

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  28. “Turgon” is of course right to mention that there is a lot of “funding” going around but I think its counter-productive to emphasise the point.
    Its a deeper sense of “entitlement” in the Academic World.
    The MAs only speak to PhDs and the Doctors only speak to Professors and the Professors speak only to a higher form of person.

    They take from “victimhood” but dont want to hear from the wrong kind of victim. In fairness to them, they do t know that they are being taken for a ride. I might never make the panel at these events but I have been at enough of these events to know that the Conflict Resolutionists are themselves victims of a lot of Bullshit.
    I have heard too many ex-combatants play the “old soldier” card. If I had a £1 for every ex-combatant who stood up and said “Im a victim too”.
    The ex-combatants muscle in and the Academics love it.
    Each gives each other…credibility.
    The Academic is curious.
    I’m not. I dont see the point. Ive been observing street thugs for more than four decades. They aren’t that special.

    But the “entitlement” extends to political ambition, not necessarily lucrative.
    But certainly influential.
    When Civic Society is invoked….and it is suggested that Academics have a role (they mean themselves of course).
    When they talk about the Clergy being involved, they mean the individual mavericks not the old institutional churches….the right kind of clergy (the ones you hear on the radio on a Sunday morning).
    And of course Women….but only the right kind of Women.

    I am alas the wrong kind of Audience.
    But at the heart of it all the wrong kind of victim gets overlooked.
    Sharing your story I is not that empowering.
    You dont SHARE it. You give it away.
    You empower OTHERS with your story.
    You have been SCREAMING it for decades and as you go over it again for the Academic and Middle Class audience (as in the Black Box, Sept 2011)….they will applaud your bravery and solemnly declare “if only we had known this”.
    Dont empower them. Dont be patronised.

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  29. carl marks (profile) says:

    WOW you can stand beside terrorists as they break the law, supporting them as they break the law, and it’s not guilt by Association (and of course we are ignoring all the other times they have stood beside loyalist terrorists) Turgon you have indeed answered my question! I know why you don’t condemn the unionists and I suspect that anybody reading your last post will know as well.
    Could you rearrange the following words into a well-known phrase; Mote, Beam, Eye?

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  30. carl marks (profile) says:

    Following your utterly spurious and immoral logic the Bloodt Sunday families must all support the IRA as they appeared on a platfoirm with Martin McGuiness
    Where they standing beside Martin McGuiness as he was involved in an illegal protest, another Straw man!

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  31. Turgon (profile) says:

    FJH,
    As ever you get to the point exactly. I could disagree with none of it. The only thing I would add is to your comment

    “Ive been observing street thugs for more than four decades. They aren’t that special.”

    Above Michael attacked the critcisim of the conflict resolutionists who come from outwith NI. I think your point above is extremely pertinent. You having seen these thugs, know they are intellectually and morally no better and really no different to street thugs in Manchester or London, New York or elsewhere.

    The sort of thugs the conflict resolutionists talk to are older. The academics etc. from outside Northern Ireland do not know exactly how these people behaved when they were young and active thugs: they were not here. This allows these individuals to present themselves differently to said academics etc.

    The fact that with age and incarceration in the Maze they have learned big words does not change them but it does allow them to seem different to the academics etc. who seem often to be taken in.

    It would be like us going to the old gang members from London or Manchester and uncritically lapping up the story of their gang “wars”. We would be just as foolishly naive and the locals from London and Manchester would be just as annoyed pointing out these “Mr. Bigs” were just local street thugs.

    Of course this happens all too often: see the celebrity status of Ronnie Biggs: a small time criminal and part of a violent bang of robbers. Unfortunately in Northern Ireland such voyeurism has been elevated to the status of (pseudo) science.

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  32. Turgon (profile) says:

    carl marks,
    Peaceful protest is not illegal. Furthermore if illegality of a parade or demonstration or anything else suddenly makes all those anywhere near it guilty of crime then everyone there on Bloody Sunday was guilty?

    Again guilt by proximity.

    The logic of your argument is falling apart here: the morality of it never existed.

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  33. I think there is a certain Voyeurism.
    I think it was a theatre director (March 2011 …a British Irish Conference on the Arts and their role in making a better society who referred to “Troubles Porn”.
    Age is certainly a factor. When I went back to QUB aged 53 to do a History-Politics course, I was surprised to find that the lecturers were people in their 30s…..yes coming over here to tell ME about the Troubles.
    That kept me entertained for three years. Although the depressing thing was that 18 year olds know nothing and actually took notes during lectures.

    About two months ago, I attended an event. A lot of PhD students and one person best described as a young man who has had celebrity thrust upon him in the last twelve months.
    Very odd to see slightly too many of these young people paying court to him during the coffee break.

    But yes the 30 year old Researchers find the 60 year old ex-combatants fascinating.
    Yet no 30 year old Researcher finds me fascinating.
    Yet I lived in the same streets, went to the same school, played football with them and was on first name terms much longer.
    At some point, I stopped being working class in the Researchers eyes.
    Maybe it was the 11 plus.
    Or the first O Level.
    Or the first A Level.
    Or the degree.
    Alas I can contribute nothing.

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  34. Michael (profile) says:

    Turgon and FJH You really have set up a straw man. The Conflict Resolutionists didn’t start the troubles, nor are they perpetuating them. You bunch them all into one camp for your own anonymous purposes.

    Why would you do this?

    No matter where conflict happens in the world, it ends in defeat or dialogue. Same for gangs as armies or terrorists or freedom fighters. Neither has happened here, so the conflict is not over. Are you seeking a military defeat? Of what?

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  35. looneygas (profile) says:

    “Are you seeking a military defeat? Of what?”

    I think FJH answers what he and his friend Turgon are seeking.
    “But yes the 30 year old Researchers find the 60 year old ex-combatants fascinating.
    Yet no 30 year old Researcher finds me fascinating.
    Yet I lived in the same streets, went to the same school, played football with them and was on first name terms much longer.
    At some point, I stopped being working class in the Researchers eyes.
    Maybe it was the 11 plus.
    Or the first O Level.
    Or the first A Level.
    Or the degree.
    Alas I can contribute nothing.”

    They want recognition for obeying the rules and not going over the top like the baddies. And they want the baddies to be branded as such.

    No offence FJH or Turgon, but people aren’t any more fair than the Lord God was when He failed to acknowledge and reward Cain’s superior conduct and efforts.

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  36. Im not sure if I have an “anonymous purpose”.
    At every event, I have attended…I have given my name on any occasion I spoke from the floor. I have generally speaking been in contact thru my regular email (it is NOT FJH) with Conflict Resolutionists and given my name freely on their various sites.
    My name is freely available on (anti) social media.
    And its actually available on my Blog.

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  37. Seamuscamp (profile) says:

    Turgon says: “I submit that that failure has major negative repercussions for both Magee and Berry.” but claims not to be judgemental ! Christian teaching doesn’t just say “Judge not lest ye be judged”. That’s the easy bit. It also says (if my childhood memory of catechism is right): “Love your enemies. Do good to them that hate you; bless them that curse you and pray for them that persecute and calumniate your.” That’s somewhat harder, isn’t it,Turgon?

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  38. Barney (profile) says:

    Turgon wrote
    “Peaceful protest is not illegal.”
    No but glorifying terrorism is as demonstrated by the Orange Order glorifying the memory of a sectarian bigot who was also a murderer.

    Then again according to you some people if they vote for a political party, that this site exists to denigrate, are morally suspect.

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  39. Barney (profile) says:

    Beware those claiming some kind of superiority be it racial, religious or moral that is a sure sign of a sociopath.

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  40. SK (profile) says:

    “Peaceniks can go wherever they want. The protest was not against Ms. Berry it was against Magee”

    Message recieved, Turgon. It was wrong for republicans to set foot in themmuns tribal jurisdiction. Still, nothing wrong or “utterly idiotic” about Loyalists prancing through nationalist areas waving their flags and banging their drums, eh?

    Incidentally, if Berry sharing a stage with Magee constitutes a “double act” according to your own peculiar lexicon, then why no reservations about the “double act” of Jim Allister and Winkie Irvine?

    That insincere ‘Christian’ bollocks camouflages nothing, you brazen, sanctimonious, hypocrite.

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  41. carl marks (profile) says:

    Turgon
    TUrgon,
    Not quite sure what world you are living in but the Twaddell protest is illegal, now I know that many unionists think that they still have the right to make the law up to suit themselves but those days are over.
    Wee Jim stood side by side with loyalist terrorists as they broke the law, no way around that one.
    Also (I will of course apologise if I’m wrong) but you do not seem in the slightest bit concerned with those who rioted and attacked policemen preferring to concentrate on Magee and Berry of course we understand why. It’s harder to make your enemy the root of all evil if you admit that those on your side are pretty nasty as well!

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  42. carl marks (profile) says:

    By the way turgon your attempt to lump the innocent victims in the same bag as the sectarian rabble at Twaddell is obscene, the lengths you will go to justify your little leaders actions would be amazing (if we didn’t already know you)

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