Remembrance: but not for victim and perpetrator

Gregory Campbell MP spoke at an event in Pilots Row recently, Bogside during the Bloody Sunday commemoration weekend. He took the occasion as an opportunity to express his party’s objection to Sinn Fein’s proposals for a Day Of Reflection.

By Gregory Campbell

Throughout the 1980’s I tried to get Nationalists to hear what it was Unionists were saying and what our views were. There were no takers.

In 1995, today is in fact the tenth anniversary, I spoke in this building to a predominantly Nationalist/Republican audience. That was before the Belfast Agreement and before it was fashionable for unionists to speak in surroundings like this.

This week we found out that the Saville Inquiry has cost £154million so far. The 2 policemen who were murdered (one Protestant and one Roman Catholic) three days before Bloody Sunday less than a mile from where the march would start have never had an Inquiry into their deaths and the part played in it by the Government of the Irish Republic in financing those who murdered them.

How should people remember those who have died in past generations as well as the present? People are perfectly entitled to remember and organise remembrance events for relatives or friends who have died during the killing campaign of the past 35 years. This is the case whether they were innocent victims or guilty perpetrators.

Let me be as clear as I possibly can be however, so that there is no room for doubt, misinterpretation or ambiguity. Neither I nor the community I represent will give support to any remembrance mechanism whereby the murderers are treated the same as the murdered.

In the present era there is a tendency for many to try and eradicate the distinction between those who plan to take innocent life and those who suffer as a result of those plans being carried out.

Remembrance Day events across the UK (and more recently in the Irish Republic) are solemn, dignified and deeply moving for all those who attend. There is no attempt to equate the SS with the Allies during the Second World War for example, but neither is there any distinction among the innocent.

ALL the innocent dead should be remembered. In the more recent murder campaign of the last 35 years carried out by the IRA and other terrorist groups, each innocent victim whatever their background, religion, or political outlook, if they were innocent they can and should be remembered.

To attempt to say (as some do) that those who were engaged in murder or attempted murder and then were killed themselves, can be remembered in the same ceremony, in the same way is preposterous.

If the Mayor of New York was to organise a memorial day for the victims of September 11th and was to say that the day would include reference to, and acknowledgement of, the Al Quaieda personnel who flew the aircraft into the World Trade Centre as well as those innocents who died, he would quite rightly be regarded as a parasite and the event as grotesque and obscene.

I do not know how the Royal British Legion (for example) would respond to offers from people to help expand the type of ceremony that is held each year for innocent victims on Remembrance Day.

I know that without exception the opinion I have had expressed to me on the theme of some form of ‘Reflection’ or event that does not distinguish between perpetrator and victim is doomed to failure as was the most recent example here in Londonderry and the other centres across Northern Ireland.”

  • Sharp Voter

    Gregory Campbell speaking during the Bloody Sunday weekend made it clear that he will not give support to any remembrance mechanism whereby the murderers are treated the same as the murdered.

    However, Gregory seems to forget that he does just that every November. Ceremonies in November remember all British soldiers who have died as a result of war and conflict no matter where and no matter when.

    Does Gregory not realise that many of those being remembered were responsible for the deaths of many civilians. Does he not realise that those who murdered 14 people in his city may be among those he remembers every November. Does he believe that it is alright for soldiers to murder whoever they want and that he is quite happy to praise thier actions.

    The process of having a Civic Day of Reflection, which took place in Derry in December was an opportunity for everyone to remember their loved ones no matter the circumstances surrounding their deaths. Given Gregory’s bigoted views it is easy to understand why he would afraid of such an evernt.

  • George

    Bloody Sunday and the general behaviour of the British military in Ireland is small potatoes in the greater scheme of things.

    Gregory happily “honours” the bombers of Dresden, which resulted in 100,000 deaths, most of whom were refugees (women and children) fleeing the Red Army.

    That’s before we even start on the hypocricy of “honouring” the British butchery in India, the mass genocide of Kurds and Iraqis in the 1920s, mass murder in Kenya or the murder and disfiguration of Argentinian POWs in the 1980s.

    A dubious morality to say the least.

  • Beowulf

    Sharp Voter and George: If you want to remember the actions of an army who murdered more civilians than soldiers and achieved absolutely zero but terror and misery for both sides of their chosen conflict you go ahead.

    If you want to have a go at the armed forces of a country that you quite clearly despise, feel free, you’re at liberty to do so. But do remember your chosen horse achieved nothing but murder and mayhem, and set back politics in the north of Ireland a few hundred years while the army you accuse of being butchers achieved considerably more.

    A dubious morality? I want to vomit.

  • George

    Beowulf,
    I didn’t mention the IRA so don’t attribute things to me that I didn’t say and certainly don’t refer to the IRA as my “chosen horse”. I’d appreciate a retraction.

    I said Gregory shows a dubious morality when he blindly agrees to “honour” the death through bombing of 100,000 mostly refugees (women and children) as well as the countless other acts of butchery.

    Honouring those soldiers who committed wholesale murder on Iraqi and Kurdish civilians makes me want to vomit.

    This a translation of a piece which ran in the Kölnische Rundschau a couple of weeks back which sums up the ongoing imperial attitude of the British towards their “boys” but I suppose you only believe Anglophile media:

    “With around three weeks to go before a military court in Osnabrueck starts proceedings against three British soldiers accused of abusing Iraqi civilians, the rod has been broken on them at home.

    Photos have been published, in which Daniel Kenyon, Darren Larkin and Mark Cooley are seen beating and sexually humiliating Iraqis.

    “Shocking”, “disgusting” and “shameful” were the comments while the government presented the case as an absolute exception in an exemplary army.

    However, one hears a different story in the court where it is presented as a case dealing with three heroes. They are quality soldiers who have been decorated for bravery, say their superiors. Well what are they, the British are asking themselves – heroes or scoundrels?

    The distress caused by the thought that British troops could be capable of abuse, sits deep. Then again the public have always liked to believe the illusion that their “boys” are “gentleman soldiers”, that they are different to the American Rambos, that they can fight a war in a “clean” way. But then again the raising of the troops to hero status and the romanticisation of war has tradition in Great Britain, where the citizens still live in a 19th century mindset.

    Even now only a few voices speak out and question the basis behind these illusions. “Maybe” wrote the Independent’s Mark Steel, “there is something in the psychology of war that drives people to carry out torture”. And in the Times it’s: “The question the British Army must ask itself now is whether this is the exception or whether it was a systematic failure of discipline and the chain of command”.

    The British don’t like to remember the atrocities from previous wars. In the Falklands, paratroopers cut the ears off their victims to take home as trophies while in Northern Ireland the cases of torture are legion. And there were many warnings in Iraq. The International Red Cross made the British government aware of many abuses carried out by British soldiers. The human rights organisation Amnesty International published a report in May 2004, which listed 37 cases where British soldiers killed innocent civilians.

    British atrocities in Iraq may be less numerous than American ones and the abuses not as institutionalised as in Abu-Ghraib prison but they happen and are not isolated. There have been more military operations under Tony Blair than under any other Prime Minister. Maybe the realisation that “gentleman soldiers” also get their hands dirty might lead to a curbing of the enthusiasm for war.

    If even the butchers are honoured then the British will never lose their enthusiasm for war.
    Gregory happily honours the butchers.

  • Beowulf

    You make fine points, there are always examples of human barbarity in war, war is barbaric after all but you take a preposterous and frankly self deluded moral position to view these facts and use them to condemn others wholey for the actions of a few, you see the fern seeds and miss the elephant.

  • George

    Beowulf,
    I don’t believe in honouring murderers, even if they wear a military uniform and claim to be murdering wholesale in my name or to protect me.

    As for your “the actions of a few”, it is evidence that you too have a 19th century mindset when it comes to the British Army.

    Wholesale butchery has been carried out by that army on numerous occassions in the last century alone.

    Why “honour” these people? We should honour those who were murdered for refusing to murder.

  • DerryTerry

    Beowulf,

    Just for your information the last war in which military casualities outnumbered civilians was WW1. This does not include any imperial campaigns prior to WW1 where the “natives” would not have been counted because they didn’t matter.

    And of course the 160 cases against the British Army for alleged abuse in Iraq, together with the one or two they might have faced here, merely goes to show that bad apples rot the barrel.

  • tebzz3

    beowolf would do well to quietly leave this thread, deaths in india ran into millions when enforced famines are taken into account. british soldiers stormed towns and villages and the raf bombed towns not in an act of war but to discourage workers from striking.
    churhill ordered the gassing of iraqi towns not during a war but to test the effectiveness of the gas bombs,

    over to you beowolf, but bewarned i have plenty more examples to follow if you chose to continue your defense of the indefenseable

    when voltaire said “to kill a man is murder, unless you do it to the sound of trumpets” he was kidding

  • Davros

    DT – the difference is that The BA barrel is mainly good apples with a few rotten ones. The paramilitary barrels have mainly rotten apples with a few good ones. Compare the treatment of Soldiers caught abusing in Iraq and how the IRA treats those who killed Gerry McCabe. If found guilty soldiers will be acknowledged to have committed crimes. Unlike SF’s position on the killing of Jean McConville.

  • Da McGlincheys Code

    ‘DT – the difference is that The BA barrel is mainly good apples with a few rotten ones. The paramilitary barrels have mainly rotten apples with a few good ones. Compare the treatment of Soldiers caught abusing in Iraq and how the IRA treats those who killed Gerry McCabe. If found guilty soldiers will be acknowledged to have committed crimes. Unlike SF’s position on the killing of Jean McConville.’

    Lol, yeah Col Gordon Kerr was really put in his place by being promoted to Brigadier and given ushered into the Diplomatic Service.
    And of course the promotion of the convicted murderers Wright and Fisher the killers of Peter Mc Bride show that the Britsh Army is a bastion of good in a dark world, not.

  • cg

    “DT – the difference is that The BA barrel is mainly good apples with a few rotten ones”

    I don’t know where all these good apples were sent but it wasn’t Ireland

  • Mick Fealty

    Interesting that the Slugger post on the torture in Abu Ghraib (and elsewhere) raised no comments at all at the time.

    But there was a line in there which argued democracies must be ever vigliant in guarding the integrity of their own particular ‘military barrel’.

    Thus the importance of transparency in dealing with all such Human Rights violations? Truth and Reconciliation anyone?

  • Beowulf

    By the definition given here it would appear that every army that ever fought a significant war is an army of butchers. To say that your interpretation of warfare is a little one sided is being generous.

  • metacom

    Interesting that Mr. Campbell mentions the SS. I recall that President Reagan was criticized some yaers ago for participating in a joint commeration at the German military cemetery in Bittburg in which a number of SS members were interred. I don’t think Reagan could be accused of honoring specifically the SS much less their actions. These were young men who died before their time and that is a tragedy no matter what cause they served. I think it was proper for Reagan to go there and I think, in time, it would be proper if an appropriate way could be found to reflect on the tragedy of ALL the young lives that were lost in Ireland during the last 30 years. It did take Reagan 40 years to get to that cemetery. Maybe the wounds in Ireland are still too raw to be having this conversation.

  • Davros

    Maybe the wounds in Ireland are still too raw to be having this conversation.

    Excellent point.

  • maca

    Good post metacom.

  • George

    Davros,
    you too seem to have the 19th century imperial British mentality. Just a few bad apples in the barrel. It’s the barrel itself that’s bad, not a few of the contents.

    Beowulf,
    fighting what you call a “significant” war does not excuse the butchery. The greater the level of murder the more significant the war.

    What was significant to the RAF as they murdered Iraqi and Kurdish civilians wholesale in the 1920s, blowing them to smithereens?

    I’ll tell you what was significant: a railroad from Palestine through Mesopotamia to the Gulf, allowing them to move troops between their colonies in Egypt, Asia and Africa to put down “rebellions” wherever they broke out. They also realised the value of oil.

    Grounds enough to murder civilians at will and grounds enough to honour to this day?

    Evidence if evidence was needed that the enthusiasm for war is such in Britain that many people still defend its army’s historical “right” to murder at will and to honour said murderers.

  • Davros

    George – I might be stuck in the 19th century but at least I’m not running from honest questions 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    George,

    It’s the barrel itself that’s bad, not a few of the contents.

    This may be a fair point George, but we could do with more of an exposition of the logic of your argument?

  • Beowulf

    George – None of my family were butchers. The only butchers I ever encountered were the paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. You ignore those who fought for your freedom, and I’ll honour those who won mine.

  • George

    I’m not running from any “question” Davros, merely pointing out the utterly dubious and imperialist morality of people like Gregory Campbell and others who blindly honour the British Army as if it is and always has been a force for good in the world.

    Hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of innocent people have been murdered by this military machine to maintain Britain’s standard of living and economic interests in the past century.

    If they wish to honour murder, let them but they are in no position to take the high moral ground with anyone considering the amount of innocent blood on their hands.

  • Beowulf

    So George, are you calling all British servicemen murderers?

  • George

    Beowulf,
    I didn’t expect you to agree that the British Army is capable of butchery but the piles of civilian corpses it has left around the world to maintain the country’s dominant economic position say otherwise.

    As I said, honour them if you want to but don’t preach on morality to others when serial rape and murder carried out by said force go unpunished to this day.

  • Beowulf

    George, but I did agree that the British Army is capable of butchery, all humans are. What I don’t agree with is your view that all British serivemen are murderers, and that the root cause of this is their Britishness (infered in your barrel of apples metaphor).

    You’re point of view is entirely unbalanced. Your argument, rather than aimed at seeing justice for those who are killed illegally, smells of something rather nasty.

    And you’re the one preaching on morality, not me.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    I think you make some very good points about how war has been romanticised and how far this is from reality. Can I just ask if you feel that the means used by the Ra in the “war” of independence in your own country were acceptable?

  • DerryTerry

    If found guilty soldiers will be acknowledged to have committed crimes.

    Of course they will. The problem is that this might be true in Davros world but it isn’t true anywhere else.

    Then again maybe Wright and Fisher weren’t convicted of murder, served 2 years and rejoined the British Army to then be sent to Iraq. Or maybe Lee Clegg was a lollipop man and Brigadier Kerr was really in the Boy Scouts and not in charge of Unionist death squads. Or the people killed on Bloody Sunday actually killed themselves.

    Davros, the difficulty with stating that where soldiers are found guilty their crimes will be acknowledged is that soldiers are never found guilty! Any suggestions in light of the above why this is the case?

  • George

    Congal,
    I don’t believe you can compare an army that is created solely to defend a democratically elected government from an occupying power with one that sails /flies thousands of miles to rain hell on people from a height for the purpose of economic expansion or control.

    There is a difference. The war in Iraq in the 1920’s which led to wholesale murder only took place because the British were occupying the country. You can’t blame the villagers below for fighting back.

    Equally, there would have been no Irish War of Independence if the British Army accepted the results of the 1918 general election and left voluntarily.

    I mention Dresden because this is a special case.

    It was not an act to win a just war, which WWII was, this was the killing of 100,000 people, mostly women and children, to control the coming peace.

    There was and is no excuse for this incident.

    P.S. If, for some reason, the Irish Defence Forces bombed a foreign country tomorrow to protect Ireland’s political and economic interests then that would be murder in my view.

    However, if I awoke to an invading force then force to defend the country would be permissable. That is self defence.

  • idunnomeself

    George are you a pacifist?

    Do you consider all National Armies institutionally brutal, or just the British one?

  • maca

    I don’t quite agree with everything you say George.
    Soliders are soldiers, most of them are decent, and as is the case with every army there are always a few bad apples in the bunch so I wouldn’t view the army the way you do but would view the ‘administration’ in that way.
    One of the things which always got me was the story of the war against the Zulus [OK yes we’re going back quite a bit]. It always seemed to be made out a fantastic story of brave heroes defending themselves against hordes of savages [ Rorke’s Drift] but then when you actually hear more of the story it takes on a whole different complexion. The soldiers were doing a job, their leaders and the administration were the murderers in that case, IMHO.

  • James

    Mick:

    “But there was a line in there which argued democracies must be ever vigliant in guarding the integrity of their own particular ‘military barrel’.”

    It won’t help.

    Anytime you turn that beast loose it all reappears: It’s in the DNA of warfare. Abu Ghraib, The Phoenix Project …. all the same thing, just separated in time.

  • aquifer

    I prefer armies controlled by a democratic government elected by live* people and subject to legal sanction. *Its an accountability thing.

  • northernbanker

    Maca you say the fault lies with the army leaders and the administraters but surely the nuremburg trials negated this defence and ruled that the individual was responsible for his or her own actions regardless of orders.

    Armies are brutal institutes regardless of their nationality or cause, they have to be brutal but , people, please understand, the IRA regards itself as a peoples army, and it has had the support of many people over the last ninety or so years and sucessive british and irish governments have in one way or another acknowledged their status

  • maire

    I have a question to pose to all of you this may be a bit off topic or not:

    Both the British and Irish governments as well as Unionists and the SDLP want Sinn Fein to sever their links with the IRA (that is if they exist ofcourse) but is this before or after they deliver IRA decommisioning?

    I mean they are happy for the IRA and Sinn Fein to be linked but only if they can deliver the weapons otherwise they have to break their ties.

    Am I the only one who has noticed this hypocrisy by the state.

    It seems that they are using the political puppetry to assume; “HERE Gerry and Martin you can be in the IRA if you give up your weapons” but then they are saying “Gerry and Martin you cant be in the associated with the IRA (that is ofcourse only if you decommission)!!”

    Anyone else lost?

  • Robert Keogh

    “Col. Frank Kitson, in his 1960 book Gangs and Countergangs, revealed that the British were leading large-scale Mau Mau units, and that many (if not all) Mau Mau units were synthetically created by the colonial authorities. Through orchestrating violence between their “gangs” and “countergangs,” the British ensured that only native slaughter, and not revolution, would result.” (ref)

    “British governments have been found guilty by the European Commission of torturing detainees and of regular violations of the Convention on Human Rights. In fact, Britain has been found guilty of breaches of the Convention more often and has derogated more often than any other signatory.” (ref)

    Will Gregory Campbell ensure that these murderers are excluded from British Days of Remembrance?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    I wasn’t trying to compare the Ra with the British Army. And although you again make some good points can I again ask…

    “Do you feel that the means used by the Ra in the “war” of independence in your own country were acceptable?”

  • George

    Congal,
    acceptable isn’t a word I would use. Unavoidable once the British Army refused to leave and decided it could impose a military solution to thwart Irish democracy. The Irish Defence Forces were not the aggressor in this instance. I would have much preferred a Velvet revolution.

    Idunnomyself,
    yes I am a pacifist but also a realist so I would have to add except in cases of national defence (not economic) where a country is attacked or occupied by an armed aggressor or to prevent systematic mass genocide.

    The only reason to attack a country which remains within its own borders is if it is carrying out systematic genocide on its people.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “Unavoidable…”

    Would you then say the actions of the Ra prior to the 1918 election were “avoidable”?

  • George

    I certainly believe the actions by the IRA prior to the 1918 elections, which led to the deaths of hundreds of people, were avoidable (I assume you mean the Rising). So the short answer is yes.

    However, more avoidable were the 50,000 Irish deaths in 1914-1918 especially when one considers so many went as Irish nationalists to “help the small nations” and were then shafted on their return when they found “small nations” didn’t include colonies by the name of Ireland.

    The ensuing events turned Ireland from a military breeding ground that provided nearly half of the fighting men for the British Army’s expansionist ambitions to a country with a Defence Forces which has lost 250 men the last 50 years in peacekeeping duties rather than warmaking.

  • CavanMan

    It speaks volumes about what sort of person Gregory Campbell is..that he will support and remember an organisation which in ”killing terms” make the IRA look like proper saints.The british killed 35,000 innocent people at dresden http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/614/614p10.htm , http://www.rense.com/general16/dresden.htm. Are these people remembered during rememberance day?No the very taking place of such a day is a disgusting act.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    cg wibbles : “I don’t know where all these good apples were sent but it wasn’t Ireland “

    The BA has frequently disarmed bombs outside Sinn Fein headquarters and the homes of republicans. It could just have easily chosen not to, made excuses, turned up late. You have to accept that the BA on some occasions have saved the lives of people who in turn act to try to murder it’s soldiers.

    I don’t think there’s any rationality to your republicanism at all when it blinds you from the truth in this way.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “I certainly believe the actions by the IRA prior to the 1918 elections, which led to the deaths of hundreds of people, were avoidable (I assume you mean the Rising). So the short answer is yes.”

    Acceptable?

  • Beowulf

    “It speaks volumes about what sort of person Gregory Campbell is..that he will support and remember an organisation which in ”killing terms” make the IRA look like proper saints.”

    Hi CavanMan, I support and remember that organisation and I’m right here why not speak some volumes about me?

    (Killing and murder are 2 different things by the way)

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Maire, if SF are deemed to have separated from the IRA then it would not be possible to apply pressure to SF to achieve decommissioning, and it would no longer be possible to exclude them from government unless some evidence was available suggesting that the link still existed. The trouble is defining whether or not they have actually separated, an issue which is open to political exploitation in the same way that decommissioning has been. For me a good measure would be for SF to sit on the policing board in exchange for concessions to address SF’s existing concerns with the PSNI. Provided the concerns are constructive and do not contravene with national security requirements, or do not provide back-doors to get people off the hook, I can’t see why anyone would reasonably object.

    On the other hand, the IRA would have to make it’s own case for prisoner releases. And in general I am not sure how possible this whole idea would be since SF and the IRA are basically the same thing, with crossover in their leadership structures. I suspect that any separation would probably be the beginning of the end for the IRA.

  • CavanMan

    Beowulf
    so you back an organisation which massacred 35,000 innocent people at dresden,murdered 22-year-old Ghanem Kadhem Kati on his wedding day in Baghdad and the murder of over 37 civilians(including a very dangerous 8 year old girl) in Iraq,shot dead 13 innocent people on bloody sunday.It amuses me when the british army tries to take the moral high ground over the IRA,when in reality,they are murderous scum.

  • Beowulf

    CavanMan: I do, yes – I don’t see those events through the moral blinkers you do though. Would you like to articulate what that makes me then? Scum’s a four letter word, perhaps you can get up to 5?

  • CavanMan

    Beowulf
    You want to know what that makes you..It makes you a supporter of murderous organisation.Your attempts to quesion my intellect by asking if i can get up to a ”5 letter word”is quite disappointing,i expected better from you.

  • CavanMan

    Beowulf
    You want to know what that makes you..It makes you a supporter of a murderous organisation.Your attempts to quesion my intellect by asking if i can get up to a ”5 letter word”is quite disappointing,i expected better from you.

  • Beowulf

    You expected better of murderous scum? Interesting.

  • cg

    Roger you can’t force nationalists to accept an unacceptable police force

  • CavanMan

    i called you a ”supporter” of murderous scum.There is a difference.

  • George

    Congal,
    I try not to use the word acceptable for any actions that lead to death. I’m against the death penalty too naturally.

    I would use the phrase unavoidable, no matter how justified the attack was.

    Britain’s involvement in WWII was unavoidable in my view although not all the actions carried out were – prime example Dresden.

    I could compile a longer list of avoidable actions for the Red Army.

    The Rising was avoidable – the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921 was not.

  • Beowulf

    CavanMan: Well I was raised by murderous scum, so you’ll pardon me if I choose to not see the difference. No offence to you and your admirable position on the matter, naturally.

    Pleasent as this bun fight has been it’s long past it’s usefulness so I’ll do what I should have done from the start and shut up.

  • George

    Congal,
    one clarification:

    if I say avoidable, I believe there is another peaceful way so if I was alive in 1916 I would say I would have been like another pacifist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington and tried to moderate the violence.

    Unless, of course, I somehow believed it would save thousands more lives by opening the eyes of my compatriots to stop them from lining up to slaughter and be slaughtered in Europe for nothing.

    But even I admit that’s a moot point for supporting it because many of the Rising’s organisers glorified the murder and mayhem of battle as much as anyone else, albeit on a much smaller scale.

    I suppose Pearse deserves some credit for calling it off to prevent further loss of life.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “The Rising was avoidable – the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921 was not.”

    Why do you think the “war” was unavoidable? The 1918 general election?

  • Mick Fealty

    Cavan Man

    “It speaks volumes about what sort of person Gregory Campbell is”

    Have you been reading my pleas on other threads to play the ball and not the man. Consider yourself in receipt of a Yellow Card!

    It is just not possible to discuss any of these matters, if they are going to be personalised. I don’t particularly care what you or anyone else on Slugger think of Campbell or any other public figure. Simply what you think of what he’s said.

    This is clearly a difficult and emotional topic for all concerned. All the more reason to stick to argument and not get drawn into emotional bun fighting!

  • cg

    Mick you are getting very fond of dishing out cards of late but will this new found censorship apply across the board or is it only when unionist politicians are insulted?

    I have seen far worse said about republican politicians and you haven’t reached for the cards

  • Mick Fealty

    CG, I warned people last night I was going to get heavy with the cards. I normally allow an incredible degree of latitude for people of all political pursuasion. Too much for some.

    But in the last few days people have been using Slugger as a space to let rip emotionally rather than tie down or deconstruct issues.

    I don’t time for that, no matter who’s involved in doing it. At the moment, it may be mostly Republicans. In the past it’s been SDLPers, and Unionists.

    The rule should be applied loosely, but I can’t help it if people take freedom of speech for licence.

  • cg

    Mick as long as it is applied across the board there shouldn’t be any complaints

  • George

    Congal,
    I would say the War of Independence was unavoidable because the last hopes of a possible democratic solution were ripped apart with the banning of Dail Eireann and the introduction of martial law.

    As I said I would have loved a velvet revolution where the British accepted the democratic wishes of the Irish people and voluntarily pulled out without firing a shot, that the fundamental principle of pacifism, not to kill your fellow men, would not be broken.

    But I am also a realist and when all democratic and peaceful means have been emasculated by a well-armed bully, many people resort to violence as a last resort. A Gandhi style total passive resistance would have been preferable to what happened.

    That would have been the only peaceful alternative I would have had to offer as a weapon against further servitude to a foreign Imperial power, derisive of human rights, which would use Ireland’s strength and resources to further its Imperial project at the expense of others.

    Catch 22 really, damning others if you don’t lift a finger, damning yourself if you do.

    Part of an open letter Sheehy Skeffington wrote to one of the Rising’s leaders Thomas McDonagh in 1915 arguing against the militarism of the IRB:

    “Can you not conceive an organisation, a body of men and women, banded together to secure and maintain the rights and liberties of the people of Ireland, a body animated with a high purpose, a united bond of comradeship, trained and disciplined in the ways of self-sacrifice and true patriotism, armed and equipped with the weapons of intellect and of will that are irresistible? —an organisation of people prepared to dare all things for their object, prepared to suffer and to die rather than abandon one jot of their principles—but an organisation that will not lay it down as its fundamental principle: ‘We will not prepare to kill our fellow men’?

    …Ireland’s militarism can never be on so great a scale as that of Germany or England, but it may be equally fatal to the best interests of Ireland. European militarism has drenched Europe in blood; Irish militarism may only crimson the fields of Ireland. For us that would be disaster enough.”

    That sums it up really. Skeffington was right: Irish militarism, although minute in the greater scheme of things has been fatal to the best interests of this island.

    British/unionist militarism has been equally fatal for its community.

  • Davros

    I suppose Pearse deserves some credit for calling it off to prevent further loss of life.

    Bizarre thinking. He knew it would fail when he called it,he knew there would be loss of life and admitted that he wanted loss of life – the rich red wine etc – it was an ego trip to satisfy his Christ-complex …and he should be praised having caused hundeds of innocent’s deaths and injuries for calling it off so that he could acheive what he wanted – his martyrdom ?

  • maca

    “Mick as long as it is applied across the board there shouldn’t be any complaints”

    Agreed. Concerned Loyalists comments on the “prejudices against unionists” thread are downright disgraceful, for example.

    There’s too much of this crap going on. No harm in dishing out the cards once in a while so long as they are dished out evenly. Not a criticism Mick as I know you are busy and it takes considerable time to police the threads.

  • CavanMan

    Mick Fealty
    You have my apologies.It wasnt my intention to lavish a personal attack on Campbell,i was just trying to make the point that Campbell supports an organisation which killed millions throughout its history(the british army)so in my opinion because of this he has no right to criticise the 1.The Irish government for so called ”financing murderers and 2. Sinn Fein’s idea of the day of reflection.
    Are two yellows=a Sin Bin,or is their a straight red?(i havent been reading other threads because i am doing exams in college)

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    cg, this is the whole problem. You don’t have any constructive suggestions for reforming the police. You say they’re “unacceptable” but won’t say why. Personally I think there was a lot wrong with the police before Patten, but I’m quite happy now that if the police step out of line they’ll have the Ombudsman and the Police Board breathing down their necks.

    I’m willing to support efforts to improve the accountability of the police, but I don’t think republicans are interested. The lack of constructive discussion on the matter suggests to me that the only way the police are going to be acceptable is if they allow the IRA to run the ghettos. That’s not on, and going by the emotions expressed in Short Strand last week (Belfast Telegraph reports “IRA Scum” graffiti has appeared in the district) I think there’s a lot of nationalists who don’t think it is on either.

    If republicans won’t support the police then I as an individual won’t support them having a role in power and I will support politicians who want to exclude them.

  • Mick Fealty

    CM: it’s a yellow (warning), then a Red, which is sin binnng for a fortnight. Permanent exclusions are exceptional and reserved for persistent non players.

  • Mick Fealty

    One theme here seems to have been that you can separate a ‘virtuous war’ (WWII was cited as an example) and indvidual acts within it (the bombing of Dresden).

    I recommend today’s Daily Ireland’s editorial for another take on this particular question.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “I would say the War of Independence was unavoidable because the last hopes of a possible democratic solution were ripped apart with the banning of Dail Eireann and the introduction of martial law.”

    The 1918 election was for the parliament in Westminster. As far as I recall the Conservative and Unionist Party won this election. They obviously wanted Ireland to remain within the UK. Therefore, could you not say the “war” was as a result of Irish Nationalists not respecting the democratic outcome of the election?

  • willowfield

    Sharp Voter (and this applies also to George, Robert Keogh and CavanMan)

    However, Gregory seems to forget that he does just that every November. Ceremonies in November remember all British soldiers who have died as a result of war and conflict no matter where and no matter when. Does Gregory not realise that many of those being remembered were responsible for the deaths of many civilians. Does he not realise that those who murdered 14 people in his city may be among those he remembers every November.

    Were the soldiers who shot demonstrators on Bloody Sunday subsequently killed while serving in the armed forces? I’d like some information on this.

    As to the wider point, if you cannot distinguish between remembering those who died serving in the legitimate army of a legitimate, democratic state (albeit one which has been involved in dubious campaigns and undoubtedly guilty of individual illegitimate killings), and remembering those who died serving in an illegal, illegitimate terrorist gang, then you are either deluded or a Provo propagandist.

    If the armed forces have been involved in unlawful campaigns (Iraq) that is not the fault of the servicemen: blame lies with the governments that sent them there. In respect of the paramilitary terror squads, people joined in the full knowledge that they were joining illegal gangs whose purpose was to murder and terrorise.

    cg

    Roger you can’t force nationalists to accept an unacceptable police force

    And Provisional republicans can’t force everyone else to reject an acceptable police force.

    George

    The Rising was avoidable – the Irish War of Independence 1919-1921 was not.

    How do you know? The instigators didn’t even try to avoid it.

    I would say the War of Independence was unavoidable because the last hopes of a possible democratic solution were ripped apart with the banning of Dail Eireann and the introduction of martial law.

    The banning of Dáil Éireann and the introduction of martial law occurred after the “war of independence” began!

    Dear me. That’s terrible dishonesty, George.

  • CavanMan

    Willowfield
    As to the wider point, if you cannot distinguish between remembering those who died serving in the legitimate army of a legitimate, democratic state (albeit one which has been involved in dubious campaigns and undoubtedly guilty of individual illegitimate killings

    Yeh yeh you can phrase it anyway you want,it is simple the British Army are as guilty of murder and terrorism as are any of the Republican/loaylist terror groups,just because they are a legitimate army of a ”democratic” country,that does NOT mean they cant be guilty of terrorist offence.http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=terrorism ,this definition should prove to you that even legitimate armies can carry out acts of terrorism against its citizens..which the British Army done against the nationalist people of Northern Ireland for 30 years.

  • willowfield

    CavanMan

    … it is simple the British Army are as guilty of murder and terrorism as are any of the Republican/loaylist terror groups

    It’s not.

    just because they are a legitimate army of a ”democratic” country,that does NOT mean they cant be guilty of terrorist offence.

    Nobody said that it did.

    this definition should prove to you that even legitimate armies can carry out acts of terrorism against its citizens.

    I never claimed otherwise.

    which the British Army done against the nationalist people of Northern Ireland for 30 years.

    Really? I would suggest that is somewhat overstated!

    But anyway, none of what you says alters the very obvious and significant distinction between remembering those who died serving in the legitimate army of a legitimate, democratic state (albeit one which has been involved in dubious campaigns and undoubtedly guilty of individual illegitimate killings), and remembering those who died serving in an illegal, illegitimate terrorist gang, then you are either deluded or a Provo propagandist.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    Ireland was already under martial law on and off since 1916. Martial law, for example, was imposed on South Tipperary immediately after the Soloheadbeg attack in 1919.

    14 RIC members were killed in 1919. Sinn Fein were banned in August and Dail Eireann in September of that year.

    Banning the party that accounts for 70% of the seats made the war of independence unavoidable.

    If the British left even in August 1919, six months after Dail Eireann was formed, we would not be talking about wars of independence today unless less than 10 dead constitutes a war in your book.

    Anyway, the discussion we were having was about saving lives and whether the War of Independence was avoidable.

    Britain banning the legitimate democratically parliament and government of Ireland made it unavoidable that there was a War of Independence.

    Please refrain from the dishonesty jibes as there is nothing dishonest in that statement.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “Britain banning the legitimate democratically parliament and government of Ireland made it unavoidable that there was a War of Independence.”

    How was Dail Eireann the legitimate democratically elected parliament?

    The 1918 election was for Westminster, of which SF were only the 4th largest party attracting less than 9% of the vote. The Conservative and Unionist Party won the election with 39.5%. They did not support Home Rule. So, where does the legitimacy come from?

  • willowfield

    George

    Martial law, for example, was imposed on South Tipperary immediately after the Soloheadbeg attack in 1919. 14 RIC members were killed in 1919. Sinn Fein were banned in August and Dail Eireann in September of that year.

    So you accept that you were being dishonest by claiming that the IRA campaign was in response to these things, given that it had begun before martial law and the banning of the Dáil.

    Banning the party that accounts for 70% of the seats made the war of independence unavoidable.

    It had already begun! Stop being dishonest.

    Anyway, the discussion we were having was about saving lives and whether the War of Independence was avoidable. Britain banning the legitimate democratically parliament and government of Ireland made it unavoidable that there was a War of Independence.

    It had already begun before the Dáil was banned. Stop being dishonest.