Republicans to remember…

SINN Fein is to hold a ‘Day of Reflection’ on 10 December. Trees will be planted (hugging optional) to remember “in an inclusive way, all those who have died as a result of war and conflict”. It will be interesting to see if unionists partipate in any way, post-Maskey.

  • DerryTerry

    Davros, if it is too soon for some then that is fine. No one who is uncomfortable should attend and we have to respect their decision. In fact, i respect the honesty of these more than people who would attend for the wrong reason, or those who would criticise the event but attend for political reasons.

    We do need to honestly respect people’s differences, but we also need to create the space where those who wish can remember together, and the Mayor, as a civic representative, can remember everyone in that capacity.

    Next year, with a different Mayor, the event might recieve a different reaction, and i look forward to the day when this enjoys the support of everyone. If that takes generations, so be it, but the journey will never begin if we do not take the first step.

    Davidbrew, the point i made was that even amongst comrades who had fought together and were remembering their fallen friends and comrades, 17 years after the end of the Great War, there existed a problem with some element of the official Remembrance Sunday commemoration. That the Catholic Ex Combatants Association felt unable to attend the official commemoration is a clear statement of of the complexity of the issue, and you have yet to address that point.

  • Davros

    Hopefully DT lessons will be learned on how to approach this.

  • SeanOg

    Irish men in British uniforms are British soldiers, who take their orders from the British government.

    The British Army have fought and killed their way around the globe, oppressing and exploiting millions of people on the orders of the British Government.

    The presence of Irish men in this Army does not excuse its actions, it condemns these men as lackeys of British imperialism.

    As to those loveable Islamic extremists, are they the same ones that the Americans and British supported against the Soviets in Afghanistan, or those liberal muslims currently running Saudi Arabia? Of course, if you’re so keen to join with the brave British occupation forces in Iraq (please do’t shoot at us we’re british soldiers occuping your country)feel free. We’ve already paid for the ticket through our taxes!

  • willowfield

    Zzzzzzz

  • Fairybadmother

    The problem is that this ‘day of reflection’ isn’t a City Council initiative. It’s something undertaken at the behest of someone who was, on his own admission, a combatant in the war (or whatever your politics dictate you call it. I think it was a war. So sue me). I don’t think combatants — of any hue — should be leading and organising memorials.

    Even if one was willing to give it a fair wind and the benefit of the doubt — after all the Mayor did say it was intended to be all-inclusive and I presume he meant it — the whole thing is now simply part of a SF organised ‘Day of reflection’.

    I propose that O hEara and SF reflect on this: just as it is unacceptable for, say, the British Army to organise a memorial service and expect nationalists to feel included, it is equally unacceptable for other combatants (no matter if they now say they have renounced violence and it was all just a big mistake..) to organise something and hope the rest of us will go along.

    This is now looking less like a genuine attempt to address the remembrance thing and more like a political stunt.

  • SeanOg

    What are you saying mammy? The mayor of Derry should not have proposed it because he is a republican? We should not support it because SF think it is a good idea? Nationalists should boycott Remembrance Sunday because it is organised by the Royal British Legion on behalf of the British Government, because British soldiers killing Iraqi’s doesn’t like they renounced violence to me? BTW, idea looks like its dealing with remembrance much more than a slavish procession by so called nationalists to a brit war commemoration, especially when the only people they commemorate involved in the 1916 Easter Rising was the British soldiers who fought in Dublin! Yet to see them at an easter commemoration.

  • davidbrew

    Lodonderryterry
    shouldn’t you be asking what on earth ex servicemen were doing organising themselves into a religious based group? Perhaps not unconnected with that community’s historical habit of having separate scout groups, schools, etc etc.

  • DerryTerry

    Daithibrew, ignoring the point and trying to create a smokescreen around why men who had fought in the British army and seen their friends and comrades killed in battle felt unable to participate in the official remembrance ceremony simply demonstrates your inability to address the point.

    Remember, these are men who fought alongside comrades from the 16th Ulster Division at Messine and throughout the war fought alongside British soldiers from throughout these islands. I’m sure under fire they didn’t ask the religion of the man in the trench beside them. But 17 years later these very same men felt unable to attend a commemoration alongside men they had faced death with. To me that suggests that there is something about Remembrance Sunday, or these men’s perception of it, that caused them problems. They gathered to remember their fallen comrades, but not with the British Legion. Surely there is more to it than historical habit.

  • willowfield

    There are many, many Roman Catholic members of the RBL.

    Perhaps the people you mention are hardcore republicans or something? Rabid anti-Brits?

  • DerryTerry

    WF, the people I’m talking about were members of the Catholic Ex Combatants Association in 1935, highlighted in a previous post by Davros. I’m not sure how hardcore republicans or rabid ant-Brits would be that keen on remembering any British soldiers. No, these men seem to have been former British soldiers who wanted to remember their former comrades but felt unable to attend Remembrance Sunday.

    If that was the case in 1935, then how much more problematic could it be in 2004?

  • willowfield

    Why did they feel unable to attend Remembrance Sunday, unlike the many more RC ex-servicemen who did feel able?

    If that was the case in 1935, then how much more problematic could it be in 2004?

    I imagine it is much less problematic in 2004. Nationalist Ireland seems to have moved on considerably since the 1930s in respect of Remembrance.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Republicans remember their fallen on Easter Sunday. Unionists do the same on Remembrance Sunday.

    Both of these are (or at least the perception is) primarily aimed at remembering fallen ‘combatants’.

    Yet there’s quite a few people out there who never picked up a gun and maybe never knew anyone who did. I would guess there’s quite a few people not that impressed by the conduct of either ‘side’ over the course of the Troubles.

    So how can they really ‘remember’ combatants they never knew or felt any real sympathy with?

    Could a possible compromise for a truly inclusive ceremony not lie in remembering the dead civilians alone – the one group that never signed up for possible killing or being killed?

    Just an idea. Go on, knock it down…

  • willowfield

    Terrorist murderers were civilians, so I could not favour a ceremony that remembered all civilians. Not all civilians were innocent.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    No they weren’t. They were combatants. A civilian wouldn’t have participated in the conflict by definition.

  • willowfield

    That is a republican/loyalist analysis designed to equate terrorist criminals with legitimate armed forces and somehow justify their terrorist campaigns. I do not accept the analysis. A civilian, by definition, is someone who is not a member of the armed forces.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    To be clear, your “Terrorist murderers” cannot be classified as civilians, certainly not by republicans or loyalists. They defined themselves as combatants, and – since we all respect self-determination these days – therefore excluded themselves from ‘civilian’ categorisation.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    If you can see how a state ‘soldier’ and paramilitary ‘combatant’ are defined differently, then they can hardly be said to be equated.

    Just because both would be excluded from a civilian act of remembrance does not make them equal. Equally ‘not there’, equally ‘excluded, but if neither are actually represented, they cannot be equated.

  • willowfield

    They defined themselves as combatants, and – since we all respect self-determination these days – therefore excluded themselves from ‘civilian’ categorisation.

    I do not accept their definition.

    If you can see how a state ‘soldier’ and paramilitary ‘combatant’ are defined differently, then they can hardly be said to be equated. Just because both would be excluded from a civilian act of remembrance does not make them equal. Equally ‘not there’, equally ‘excluded, but if neither are actually represented, they cannot be equated.

    It would give the impression that the two were somehow equivalentm if not “equal”.

  • willowfield

    Even worse, it would exclude murdered policemen from remembrance, giving the impression that they were somehow “combatants” and hence “legitimate targets” for the terrorists.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Eh? What happened to all that ‘RUC were defenders of the Protestant community’ stuff that unionists talk about then?

    I don’t get your first point either – by your own arguments, you are basically saying that ‘terrorists’ were ‘civilians’. Eh? That makes no sense to me. You are saying that anyone who wasn’t in the Armed Forces was a civilian, yet when the Armed Forces killed ‘terrorists’ (let’s assume for your argument it was justified), unionists and republicans regarded them as ‘terrorists’ or ‘volunteers’ respectively. Neither group would have described them as a civilian.

    Perhaps you are not representative of unionist opinion (not a criticism!) in this regard. I honestly dunno.

    I don’t accept your ‘equivalence’ argument either. It would simply be for dead civilians. Full stop. No-one would say that if a group of kids had a ceremony to remember their dead dogs at a pet cemetary, that horses and sheep are ‘equal’ because they are livestock.

    Different, yes. “Equal” how? Bad analogy, but it’s what you are saying.

  • willowfield

    Eh? What happened to all that ‘RUC were defenders of the Protestant community’ stuff that unionists talk about then?

    I’m not sure unionists do talk about the RUC being defenders of the Protestant community. But I guess they were defenders of the Protestant community in the sense that they were defenders of the entire community and the Protestant community is part of that. So what? It doesn’t make them “combatants”: they were policemen.

    I don’t get your first point either – by your own arguments, you are basically saying that ‘terrorists’ were ‘civilians’. Eh? That makes no sense to me.

    Why not? They were, by definition, civilians!

    You are saying that anyone who wasn’t in the Armed Forces was a civilian, yet when the Armed Forces killed ‘terrorists’ (let’s assume for your argument it was justified), unionists and republicans regarded them as ‘terrorists’ or ‘volunteers’ respectively. Neither group would have described them as a civilian.

    Being a terrorist and being a civilian are not mutually exclusive!

    I don’t accept your ‘equivalence’ argument either. It would simply be for dead civilians. Full stop.

    It wouldn’t, though, because dead policemen would be excluded. And why remember only dead “civilians” (to use your definition) anyway? Why exclude those policemen and soldiers who were murdered, as if to say, somehow their murders weren’t as bad as other murders?

    To distinguish between “combatants” and “non-combatants” is to accept a republican/loyalist analysis and to legitimise the terrorist gangs, implying they were equivalent of legitimate armed forces and the police.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    “It doesn’t make them “combatants”: they were policemen.”

    That doesn’t seem to be the way the Government or the RUC saw it – the “thin green line”, Ulsterisation, etc etc. Kind of renders that bit of your argument redundant.

    “Why not? They were, by definition, civilians!”

    Again, your definition. Not unionists’ definition and not republicans’ definition. You might call me an ‘egg’, but if no-one else did, I would hazard a guess that I wasn’t.

    “Being a terrorist and being a civilian are not mutually exclusive!”

    A terrorist is a civilian when he’s not being a terrorist. A soldier is a civilian when he’s not being a soldier. So in a way, I agree. Active duty would come into play in my hare-brained idea.

    “It wouldn’t, though, because dead policemen would be excluded. And why remember only dead “civilians” (to use your definition) anyway? Why exclude those policemen and soldiers who were murdered, as if to say, somehow their murders weren’t as bad as other murders?”

    If people want to remember the dead RUC officers, there are already ‘exclusive’ ceremonies that do that, every year. Ditto republicans. Ditto loyalists.

    The real question is, why would YOU deny civilians the same privilege?

    “To distinguish between “combatants” and “non-combatants” is to accept a republican/loyalist analysis and to legitimise the terrorist gangs, implying they were equivalent of legitimate armed forces and the police.”

    That makes no sense. It is more of a humanist argument for a start, and you haven’t answered my final point, just reiterated your own.

    I’ll try another hypothetical example.

    If I decide to pick an apple for lunch, does that make oranges and bananas ‘equal’? Of course not. That would be stupid. They are different, but not equivalent. I may even hate one and like the other, or just dislike both, but since they are not on my menu for lunch, why should I care? I’ve got my apple, and can eat oranges on Remembrance Sunday and bananas on Easter Sunday if I choose to.

    See the point yet?

  • cg

    “The comments of Patrick Savage (QUB SF/IRA) over this issue demontrate the duplicity of Sinn Fein representatives. Firstly he congratulates SINN FEIN for organising the events then claims they are for everyone and only evil bogots would reject them.”

    Christopher your at it again.

    I find this silly code of yours amusing “Patrick Savage (QUB SF/IRA)”

    It could just as easily be said Christopher Stalford ( formally QUB DUP/ULSTER RESISTANCE/THIRD FORCE etc)

    P.S Have you been reading much Harry Potter i.e “bogots”

  • willowfield

    Belfast Gonzo

    That doesn’t seem to be the way the Government or the RUC saw it – the “thin green line”, Ulsterisation, etc etc. Kind of renders that bit of your argument redundant.

    The purpose of Ulsterisation was to minimise the use of the Army and hence undermine those claiming it to be a “war” with “combatants”. Police protected society, hence they were seen as defenders: that doesn’t make them “combatants”.

    Again, your definition.

    It’s not my definition. Go and look up a dictionary. A civilian is someone who is not in the armed forces.

    The real question is, why would YOU deny civilians the same privilege?

    Policemen are and were civilians.

    I would not deny civilians any “privilege”, but I would not support or participate in any event which was founded on a terrorist analysis, or which implied that murdered policemen or soldiers were somehow not “innocent”.

    “To distinguish between “combatants” and “non-combatants” is to accept a republican/loyalist analysis and to legitimise the terrorist gangs, implying they were equivalent of legitimate armed forces and the police.”

    That makes no sense.

    It does.

    If I decide to pick an apple for lunch, does that make oranges and bananas ‘equal’? Of course not. That would be stupid. They are different, but not equivalent. I may even hate one and like the other, or just dislike both, but since they are not on my menu for lunch, why should I care? I’ve got my apple, and can eat oranges on Remembrance Sunday and bananas on Easter Sunday if I choose to.

    A nonsense analogy.

    If you single out “civilians” (as per your definition) you imply that terrorists were not civilians and hence recognise them as de facto some kind of legitimate or quasi-legitimate “combatants”. You imply also that policemen and soldiers were also “combatants”. That is an equivalence – two sets of “combatants” on either side of a “conflict” or “war”.

    That is a terrorist analysis.

  • DerryTerry

    WF, in the 1930s you were dealing with men who had fought together in the trenches and who still felt uneasy with Remembrance Sunday.

    In 2004, and particularly in the city in which i live, you have the legacy of Bloody Sunday, Operation Motorman etc in which British soldiers killed Derry civilans. That is why i suggest it could be more problematic today for many people. As for those who do not have a problem with it, then they never will.

    I do agree that nationalism generally seems to have moved on in regards to the whole issue of remembrance, and i would place this initiative by the Mayor of Derry within that context.

  • willowfield

    I note your failure yet again to explain why these men felt unable to participate, unlike the many more RC ex-servicemen who did and still do.

  • Davros

    Were there “civilian casualties” in Derry during Motorman ? One gunman and one petrol bomber were shot dead and as far as I know, that’s it.

  • DerryTerry

    Davros, Daniel Hegarty, 15 year old Creggan boy was killed yards from his own door because he wanted to see the tanks. He was not a petrol bomber but then that’s not the first time we’ve heard the gunmen and petrol bombers excuse, is it? For further information go to http://www.serve.com/pfc/motorman/DannyHegarty.html on the Pat Finucane Centre.

    WF, i’m impressed by your deliberate obtuseness. In the absence of attending the 1935 ceremony, which i did not, i am as much in the dark as to why these ex servicemen did not attend the official ceremony as you are. I do not know why these men felt unable to attend, but that they did is surely worthy of comment and to me clearly identifies that fact that they had a difficulty with some aspect or element of the event.

    That these men fought in the Great War and still wanted to remember their fallen comrades suggests they were not rabid anti-Brits or hardcore republicans. To me they were ex servicemen who wanted to commemorate their friends and comrades but felt unable to do so with the RBL. There may well have been something wrong with the Catholic Ex Combatants Association, or they might be something problematic with Remembrance Sunday.

    As someone who would like to see the space created where we can remember everyone who has lost their lives as a result of war and conflict, i think we should consider both possibilities.

  • Davros

    Thanks for the Clarification DT.

  • willowfield

    Derry Terry

    In the absence of attending the 1935 ceremony, which i did not, i am as much in the dark as to why these ex servicemen did not attend the official ceremony as you are.

    Without such understanding, then, there is little point in drawing conclusions from their absence.

  • davidbrew

    “you have the legacy of Bloody Sunday, Operation Motorman etc in which British soldiers killed Derry civilans. That is why i suggest it could be more problematic today for many people.”

    and we have the legacy of Bloody friday, La Mon, Teebane etc etc in which the organisation the Mayor once belonged to ( and when did he resign, I wonder?) killed many more civilians. Yet that’s NOT problematic, but progressive?

    Now who’s being deliberately obtuse?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I agree with “david brew”. I am convinced that Gerry O’Hara, or however he spells his name in his party’s obsession with hijacking the Gaelic language, is still a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Add Kingsmill and the Abercorn to david brew’s list, and there’s 5 reasons why even the idea of standing next to these murderers makes me feel nauseous! And another point. The people of the Fountain Estate go through daily attacks on their homes by republicans, who need treated the same way as rabid dogs, as that’s all they are! The least people can do is call their city by it’s lawful name, LONDONDERRY!

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The purpose of Ulsterisation was to minimise the use of the Army and hence undermine those claiming it to be a “war” with “combatants”. Police protected society, hence they were seen as defenders: that doesn’t make them “combatants”.

    Police were supposed to uphold the law and protect society, yes, but they also went on the offensive, as you well know. Members of the Armed Forces also regularly donned RUC uniforms, as you well know.

    It’s not my definition. Go and look up a dictionary. A civilian is someone who is not in the armed forces.

    Here’s one definition, courtesy of Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary: One whose pursuits are those of civil life, not military or clerical. Suits my purposes fine.

    Policemen are and were civilians.

    Officially yes. Some were clearly combatants. It’s not really a big secret any more, so you no longer need to live in denial about it.

    I would not deny civilians any “privilege”, but I would not support or participate in any event which was founded on a terrorist analysis, or which implied that murdered policemen or soldiers were somehow not “innocent”.

    Their murder hardly implies any guilt.

    It does.

    That’s an argument? OK then, it doesn’t. So there. Just because.

    A nonsense analogy.

    It would be if you could make a case against it.

    If you single out “civilians” (as per your definition) you imply that terrorists were not civilians and hence recognise them as de facto some kind of legitimate or quasi-legitimate “combatants”. You imply also that policemen and soldiers were also “combatants”. That is an equivalence – two sets of “combatants” on either side of a “conflict” or “war”.

    A terrorist is obviously a ‘combatant’, if they are involved in combat. A policeman or a soldier is a ‘combatant’, if they are involved in combat. A kangeroo is a ‘combatant’, if it is involved in combat.

    How can you possibly even argue that because there are two sides in a conflict that somehow make them ‘equivalent’. Presumbly there HAS to be someone on the other side for there to BE a conflict – another combatant presumably.

    Just because two sides are fighting against each other doesn’t make them the same. You keep trying to pin this on me, yet you are only misrepresenting my argument. They patently are not ‘equivalent’, especially if they are fighting each other. You haven’t even stated what the ‘equivalence’ is, although I assume you mean in the moral sense.

    That is a terrorist analysis.

    So somehow because I am concerned about the needs of civilians, I am presenting a terrorist analysis?

    Actually, I give up. You can have this one. I’m only kite flying, and I can see what way the wind is blowing already.

  • willowfield

    Gonzo

    Police were supposed to uphold the law and protect society, yes, but they also went on the offensive, as you well know. Members of the Armed Forces also regularly donned RUC uniforms, as you well know.

    When did they “go on the offensive”? 1969? And I’m afraid I am unaware that members of the armed forces “donned RUC uniforms”.

    Here’s one definition, courtesy of Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary: One whose pursuits are those of civil life, not military or clerical. Suits my purposes fine.

    Nonsense. I don’t accept that, say, a clerk in a building society is not a civilian.

    Officially yes. Some were clearly combatants. It’s not really a big secret any more, so you no longer need to live in denial about it.

    If any were “combatants” then they acted illegally and their illegal actions should not be used to misrepresent the police as “combatants” in a “war”.

    Their murder hardly implies any guilt.

    Distinguishing them separately from “civilians” (by your definition) is to give credence to the terrorist notion of “legitimate targets”.

    A terrorist is obviously a ‘combatant’, if they are involved in combat.

    Only in the terrorist’s own terms. I do not accept those terms.

    A policeman or a soldier is a ‘combatant’, if they are involved in combat.

    They weren’t involved in “combat”. There was no “war”. They were providing society with a security function.

    How can you possibly even argue that because there are two sides in a conflict that somehow make them ‘equivalent’. Presumbly there HAS to be someone on the other side for there to BE a conflict – another combatant presumably.

    To recognise two “sides” in a “conflict” is to give legitimacy to the terrorist analysis that they were fighting a “war” and hence were some kind of legitimate “combatants” in that “war”. I do not accept that. There was no “war”. There were crimnial terrorists murdering and bombing and security forces protecting society from those criminals.

    So somehow because I am concerned about the needs of civilians, I am presenting a terrorist analysis?

    Your “concern” for the “needs” of “civilians” (as defined by you) is nothing to do with it. It is the fact that you are making a distinction between “combatants” and “non-combatants” that means you are presenting a terrorist analysis.

  • DerryTerry

    Of course we can all engage in whataboutery and if that is what people want to do then go ahead. For my part i am interested in exploring ways of moving beyond exclusive acts of Remembrance, because they are all problematic to someone. Remembrance Sunday, Easter Sunday etc are exclusive and problematic. If we can agree on that, which i believe we already have, then we can decide to address that or not.

    If people are happy not addressing it that is their right and fair play to them. If, however, others want to explore if there is a different, more inclusive, approach to the subject then that is also their right.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    It is actually quite difficult to argue against WF’s position if you accept the legitimacy of the state.

    …but it was fun trying.

  • Sean T Traynor

    I thought it was actually Armistace Day that was celebrated, Rememberance Sunday is the Title of the Celebrations Of The Royal British Legion, as I understand it.

    An organisation that avoided Catholic casualties names on memorials all over Northern Ireland of the two world wars.

    It is time to change the sectarian thinking if the new opportunity is to be taken advantage of in light of the new world being a global one. However history cannot be re written, only learned from

  • Fishfiss

    Unionists have been calling for SF-IRA to declare and end to ‘the war’, so have the British and the Irish governments and nationalists – ergo, it was a war. Of some sort. That means that some combatants fought other combatants and that one of the combatants was the state. All groupings which were combatants injured and killed other combatants and all groupings of combatants killed and injured non-combatants. Let’s not get into the personal individual motivations about why all or any of the combatants did what they did as individuals, if anyone dons a mask or a uniform in a comabt situation they do so in the full and certain knowledge that they might be killed or injured or that they may be called upon to kill or injure or intimidate in circumstances not always of their choosing.