A problem with presentation?.. or content?

Sinn Féin published the official text of Gerry Adams’ speech to party members in South Armagh yesterday.. and cautioned to “Check against delivery”. Fortunately the Irish Times’s Gerry Moriarty did just that[subs req], and noted some interesting divergence from the script.

From the Irish Times report

Senior republican sources have insisted the historic importance of the July statement has been underestimated and Mr Adams in again departing from his script last night developed this theme.

“This is something that in many, many ways is a potentially huge sea change, not just for us, for the people of the North, but for the entire island. I think it has changed the political context utterly. I don’t think republicans have absorbed what it is about. I don’t think the media have absorbed what it is about, I don’t think our enemies have absorbed what it is about.“[emphasis added]

So neither republicans, the media, nor your enemies fully understood the significance of the statement, Gerry?

That would be a failure in either the presentation.. or the content.

  • lamh_dearg

    That would be a failure in either the presentation.. or the content.

    or both,

    or weary boredom

    or simple incredulity

  • slug

    The sponge is already dripping.

  • middle-class taig

    It never ceases to amaze me that Gerry gets up people’s noses so much. SDLP, UUP, DUP, Alliance, FG, PD, ILP, IT, Indo, Sindo, Examiner, IN, BT, NL, OO, WP, 32CSC. All completely bloody obsessed with the man. All pathetically unable to contain it.

  • Henry94

    MCT

    He must be doing something right.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    True. Murder a couple of thousand and they’ll never let you forget it.

  • Biffo

    The political context is changed utterly and a terrible beauty is born.

  • Hektor Bim

    The reason everyone is obsessed with the man is because he is a political genius. People instinctively understand that, whether they are in the nationalist or unionist camps, British or Irish. It’s clear people either love or hate him, but everyone understands that they are dealing with a political master with great control over events.

    It’s amazing to think what would have happened if Adams and McGuiness had joined a different party.

    He and Ian Paisley are the real political giants of Northern Ireland now that Hume has left the scene. It remains to be seen whether that is a great misfortune to everyone. I suspect that Paisley won’t hang on much longer, which is all too the good for most people in NI, but Adams is a more complex character, and the jury is still out.

  • peteb

    Let’s try to keep to the topic, at least for a while, rather than being diverted down a side-track.

  • Ringo

    Pete,

    That’s the danger with subs articles, it makes it hard to discuss the content so tangets are all the more likely. And God knows a slugger can’t pass a tanget without going off on it.

    Anyway, I’ve little excuse, I’ve the paper in the car, but haven’t read it yet.

  • missfitz

    Pete, I would have thought that the topic was very much centred on GA and his delivery of the speech. From a completely dispassionate viewpoint, I think he will go down in history as one of the most astute and clever politicians Ireland has ever seen, and that includes them all!

    It’s probably the hardest thing in the world for someone who has suffered to see the person they perceive as the leader being adored, but that is the stuff of living through this phase of trasnformation.

    In historical terms, we are now seeing the final end to an organisation that has epitomised Ireland and her struggle for many years.

    “We are truly blessed, we who live in interesting times”

  • peteb

    Ringo

    “That’s the danger with subs articles, it makes it hard to discuss the content so tangets are all the more likely.”

    Hence the attempt to focus the thread on the comment by Adams –

    And the corresponding focus on the reasons why everyone, according to Adams, has under-estimated [in his opinion], the IRA’s statement in July.

    Perhaps I should just have put that line in bold?

  • Robert Keogh

    True. Murder a couple of thousand and they’ll never let you forget it.

    They certainly dont. Although, if he’d slaughtered hundreds of thousands like Bomber Harris he’d be lionised and have his own personal statue.

    Selective condemnation is self-defeating unless you want to surround yourself with nodding donkeys.

  • Robert Keogh

    Pete,

    have you read Jim Gibney’s piece?

    Firstly, I don’t think Adams means simply the words in the July statment, but rather the standing down and decom that was promised. I (obviously) don’t know what Adams meant with the statement you quoted but maybe it means that people really haven’t figured out the totality of changes that flow from the PIRA actions. That the political context is so changed that few have been able to appreciate the full extent of that change? It’s like people haven’t been pre-occupied by the recent OO riots and unionist paramilitary murders.

    So neither republicans, the media, nor your enemies fully understood the significance of the statement, Gerry?

    He said absorbed it at all, not that people failed to fully comprehend the significance. There is a significant difference between the two terms.

    That would be a failure in either the presentation.. or the content.

    This is rather an primary school attitude – the expectation that understanding and comprehension should be spoonfed to you by another. Why is it Adams fault if people can’t figure things out for themselves – you can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.

  • middle-class taig

    The tangent here is more interesting than the obscurantist point you’re trying to make, peteb.

    Why do people hate Gerry so much? To the best of my knowledge, the guy has never been convicted of a criminal offence save for “escape from lawful custody” (the lawful custody in question being internment without trial). He’s done more than anyone in history to move Irish republicanism away from violence once and for all. He has brought SF to a position of unprecedented paticipation in British and Irish political life. He is one of probably the 50 most recognisable current political figures in the world. An off-hand remark from Gerry can be a decade-dominating soundbite in Ireland.

    Why do people hate him so? I think it’s a legitimate question. It retards political growth here that unionists can’t stomach dealing with GA. I think the ball not man rule should be dispensed with for such a debate.

    Love Ulster? Maybe we should start a Love Gerry campaign.

  • Henry94

    Maybe this TCM report will clarify things

    “Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said that Northern Ireland is on the cusp of something big. He was speaking after a meeting with the Taoiseach and Government ministers in Dublin today.

    Mr Adams said the IRA would honour its commitment to decommission all its weapons.

    He added that the DUP leader, Ian Paisley, should be given time and space to reflect on what happens in the coming weeks.
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    Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness added that what happens in the next couple of weeks could be even more significant than the 1994 ceasefire, and what happened in July of this year when the IRA announced an end to its armed campaign.

    Both the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, described the meeting as good and fruitful”

  • peteb

    Robert

    “This is rather an primary school attitude – the expectation that understanding and comprehension should be spoonfed to you by another”

    Actually, the point is that Adams’ is arguing that republicans, the media, and his enemies didn’t fully aborb/understand/or under-estimated the IRA statement.

    I’d suggest that they all understood it perfectly well.

    mct

    There is a very good reason why we have a play the ball not the man rule and why we don’t dispense with it for any reason.

  • Henry94

    Not TCM
    RTE

  • spirit-level

    peteb
    could you expand on what you mean when you say:
    “I’d suggest that they all understood it perfectly well”?
    see I’d suggest that they don’t and nor does even Gerry himself.
    I’ll offer the following as proof:
    As has been stated above both Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley are Masters of the Game of Politics.

    In this blame game Gerry doesn’t bother to admit to republican “sins of comission” in his speech, because he know damns well Ian Paisley will drag him over the coals on decommsioning, criminality and policing, trying to tease and squeeze every last drop of penitence from him.
    Conversely Ian Paisley doesn’t bother to admit to his “sins of omission”, because he knows Gerry Adams will drag him over the coals on his paranoi, prejudice, prevarication, and downright bigotry, trying to tease and squeeze every last drop of penitence from him.
    Taking a step back from the process it can be observed these two giants are waking each other up out of their respective states of denial, and forcing each other to face up to their issues.

    Its a slug-fest worthy of a world championship boxing match. A thrilling encounter.

    The trouble for Paisley is that Gerry has finally learnt how to play the game and win; through patience, long-suffering and no resent-ment. Paisley doesn’t know how to play the game except through anger, accusation, hot-headedness and paranoi. He’s too old to learn new tricks. He’s not a diplomat. Paisley’s been spotted. All Gerry has to do now is just keep going, making all the right moves, all the right noises and he’s got Paisley by the bollocks.
    Ringside seats chaps.

  • peteb

    s-l

    I’m not one for over-explaining myself.. suffice to say that, whereas Gerry appears to have a problem with the general response to the IRA statement in July, I’d say it got the response it deserved.

  • spirit-level

    ok peteb no problem with that. The key word for me here is absorbed. That by definition takes time.

  • Robert Keogh

    I’d say it got the response it deserved.

    You mean disbandment of the RIR, removal of watch towers, etc?

  • middle-class taig

    I doubt Gerry’s going to start his libel portfolio with slugger

  • Keith M

    m-c t, your qustion is legitimate and I will answer it, though obviously I cannot speak for the hundreds of thousands who also despise Adams.

    My main reason for hating Adams is the fact that he was behind the cold blooded and cynical murders of hundreds if not thousands of people. I have no idea if he actually pulled the trigger or detonated the explosives himself, but by orchestrating the terrorist campaign in his role on the IRA “army council” he has blood on his hands.

    If this wasn’t enough (and it should be for most right minded people) the fact that he continues to treat people like fools by denying that he was ever a member let alone a leader of the IRA, simply adds insult to injury. Does he honestly think that no one remembers that he represented the IRA in talks with the UK government in the 1970’s and 1980’s?

    I might just be able to forgive someone for murdering people if they honestly admitted their crime and showed geneuine repentence. Adams does not have the ability to do either. He is a craven coward who has cynically used willing fools to gain a position of power. For me he is simply the embodiment of evil.

    Yes his face is recognised, yes he can come up with a remark like “they haven’t gone away you know” which haunts him for years afterwards, so what?

    The one consolation that I have is the knowledge that he will go to his grave without seeing his stated aim of a “united Ireland” and that’s enough for me to just about tolerate him.

  • PaddyCanuck

    PeteB:

    “I’d say it got the response it deserved.”

    You are not one to hide your contempt of all things Provisional.

    Your personal animus towards the Republican Movement is predictable and recurring, and unfortunatley brings down the standard of blogging on this site.

    Begrudgery prevents an objective analysis of the ground breaking moves that have been made by republicans. When we contrast this with the “dogs in the street” standard of evidence required for all the alleged misdemeanors committed by republicans, it is then that we see the real issue at the heart of Gerry Adams observations. It is not a failure in either the presentation.. or the content, it is the subjective attitude of the media and bloggers like yourself that seek to diminish the momentous move made by the IRA in July.

  • SlugFest

    Keith M:

    I, too, have always had a problem with Adams not admitting that he was in the IRA. I’ve heard countless excuses/rationale for this (one example being that if he were to admit it, he would then immediately be put in jail) and haven’t bought into any of them.

    That said, in my opinion, Paisley is just as responsible and has as much blood on his hands as Adams does, but Paisley is just insane enough to be able to deny his wrongdoings, both to himself and to others.

    Don’t you think it’s possible, though, that Adams — as well as a myriad of other members of the IRA, UVF, etc. — are in fact repentent? I’ve talked to a number of former IRA men, and what they say in private about their actions is a world away from what they say publicly.

    Adams has to walk a tightrope in order to make the Peace Process amenable to the republican movement. Finding a balance between the hard men and the doves is close to impossible, but with the (hopefully) upcoming decommission of IRA weapons, Adams may have just pullled it off.

  • peteb

    Canuck

    You missed the rest of that quote – “suffice to say that, whereas Gerry appears to have a problem with the general response to the IRA statement in July, I’d say it got the response it deserved.” – you obviously disagree.

    But it was Adams who raised the question of the response by republicans, the media, and his enemies.. the original post asked, in effect – Why do you think everyone failed to respond in the [obviously] anticipated manner?

  • middle-class taig

    Keith M

    Commendations for being prepared to reveal the true nature of your loathing.

    You hate Gerry for crimes you imagine he committed. He has never been charged with let alone convicted of any of those crimes, but that doesn’t stop you hating him.

    You hate him again because he denies responsibility for these supposed crimes for which he has never been charged, of which he has neven been convicted, and for which not the slightest shred of evidence has ever been provided.

    You hate him because he represented republicanism in negotiation with the British government, and because where others see a broad republican movement you see only I*R*A*.

    You hate him on a quasi-religious, existential level. You have elevated him to a kind evil deity, a Seth incarnate. The embodiment of evil, indeed. Good grief.

    You hate him so much that you want his political project to fail, just because you hate him, and irrespective of its merits. You hate him fetishistically.

    It’s not good to hate like that, mate. I don’t hate Paisley like that. I doubt any nationalists do. It’s not natural. It’s this kind of irrational hatred, based on some imagined edifice of personal evil, which prevents political movement and dialogue.

    Adams has every right to deny allegations for which no proof is offered. Because of his postion he can’t sue, and because of that people make ever more fanciful allegations. Every denial gives voice to another ultra-unionist howl of pseudo-righteous anger.

    Adams is a community leader. His community took arms at a point in its history when he was involved in its leadership. It is no more nor less than that. The idea that Adams, probably the human being in Western Europe subject to greatest surveillance over the last 35 years, has been the guiding hand of the IRA for all that time is, to my mind, simply not credible. Operationally, he’d have been a liability.

    I’m not really sure if this is how unionists really see him, or how they pretend to see him in order to justify not talking to him. Whichever, it’s very sad.

  • Keith M

    “He has never been charged with let alone convicted of any of those crimes, but that doesn’t stop you hating him.”

    M-C T the list of mass murderers that have never been convicted of any crime is as long as my arm; Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin. True Adams may not be in their league but the concept is the same.

    “You hate him because he represented republicanism in negotiation with the British government”. No I hate a craven liar who says that he leads a terrorist organisation when it suits him and denies he was ever a member a few years later.

    “You hate him so much that you want his political project to fail, just because you hate him, and irrespective of its merits.” No I believe that there is no merit whatsoever in an independent all island state. That was my position before Adams darkened the political landscape and unless there is some political earthquake it will be my position when Adams has left the political stage. My consolation is that by the actions of Adamds and his cronies, he has made his “political project” even less likely to happen.

    “It’s this kind of irrational hatred, based on some imagined edifice of personal evil, which prevents political movement and dialogue.” There’s nothing imagined about the killings, there’s nothing imagined about the lies.

    “It’s not good to hate like that”. I think that anyone who does not hate cold blooded murders has a fundamental moral ambiguity.

    “Adams has every right to deny allegations for which no proof is offered.” I’m not denying anyone the right to tell lies., just don’t ask me to respect them.

    “Because of his postion he can’t sue, and because of that people make ever more fanciful allegations.” So was he lying in the 1970’s and 1980’s when he represented the IRA or is he lying now. It’s one or the other. Either way he’s a liar.

    To yourself and SlugFest, this isn’t a case of “Adams bad” “Paisley good”. Just because someone cannot stand one does not make one a fan of the other. There’s is a huge amount about Paisley that I oppose. It’s a sad state of affairs that the situation has come about that the majority of Unionists feel they are better off voting for Paisley, but given the sheer unmitigated disaster that was Trimble’s leadership of the UUP, it was inevitable.

  • SF – 100 years of Spin

    MCT, do you really believe what you type? I mean, seriously? Have you never known anyone in the IRA? Because that is the only reason I can come up with for why you would even attempt to type some of the stuff you have been posting lately. Any number of IRA people – people who were active in the IRA pre-ceasefire will be quite happy to set you straight about Adams and his role within the Republican Movement. I find it almost farcical that your rationale for argument is that he has never been convicted in a British court! Once upon a time, in fact the time under scrutiny, those who were convicted didn’t even recognise said court. How times change! Now the court record is used to not recognise the IRA.

    Seriously, MCT. You appear to be a smart fellow. Just because Adams has chosen to be coy doesn’t mean you have to be silly.

  • SlugFest

    Keith M:

    “Just because someone cannot stand one does not make one a fan of the other.”

    You’re right. I apologize for making that assumption.

  • spirit-level

    Gentlemen please
    I’ve said before that both Paisley and Adams are in states of denial. Its sins of omission as against sins of comission.
    Republicans believe it was unionist sins of omission ( lack of respect for catholics, discrimination, inequality, persecution, to name a few) that led to republican sins of comission ( the armed struggle, criminality )
    Republicanism is repentant and is going the right way about it to change the future of norn iron for the better.
    Unionism remains unrepentant. This position will collapse very very soon.Its impossible to maintain that state of denail forever; though the next few months will see the last desperate efforts of unionist denial.
    My own little maxim is:
    Don’t fight denial, and don’t deny the fight.

  • spirit-level

    Furthermore I’m not the kind of republican that hides behind criminality. What we did was wrong, murder was wrong, theft was wrong, all of it was wrong. But it was venial sins not mortal sins.
    It was sin brought about by deep resentment of British Rule, and all the hurt caused by the injustices. This is not EVIL.
    On the other side I believe was mortals sins.
    Wrong done to us born of hatred for catholics,and irish people, like we’re subhuman filth: deliberate, unprovoked, slavery and misery and downtrodden-ness.
    This is WORSE. This is EVIL.

    Now we’re repenting, how bout unionism admitting and getting off its high horse, and onto its knees.

  • German-American

    Maybe I should defer to the experts “on the ground”, but after reading Slugger and related sources for a couple of years now, what Gerry Adams intended by his extra comments doesn’t seem all that opaque or illogical to me. I think it was primarily a message to republicans and only secondarily to others, for a variety of reasons: it was a speech to republicans, republicans were mentioned first in the comments (before the media and the “enemies”), and they were comments going beyond the prepared speech. I suspect Adams simply wanted to emphasize to republicans informally a point that went a bit beyond what was deemed acceptable for a formal SF statement, and the media and “enemies” got added for rhetorical balance.

    As to what Adam’s intended message actually was, again others are better positioned to comment than I. My own opinion is that the point was simply that republicans are going to have to accept various aspects of reality that some of them perhaps have not yet fully absorbed, and in particular that a return to armed struggle as a “plan B” is a non-starter even in the event that republicans achieve none of their stated goals, up to and including a united Ireland.

  • pacart

    You don’t have to love GA, or even forgive him to see that this would be a hugely significant and welcome move. If we all demand decommissioning and then, eventually, it happens, we can’t suddenly say, “it doesn’t matter because…whatever.”

  • dave

    If only unionists showed some interest in persuading loyalist paramilitaries to disarm, it really could have been a momentous week.

  • middle-class taig

    “Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin. True Adams may not be in their league but the concept is the same.”

    Absurdity heaped upon peversity. Adams has, throughout his life, been amenable to the judicial system of numerous liberal democracies (for want of a better word). He has not hidden from justice. No case against him has ever been made.

    “I hate a craven liar who says that he leads a terrorist organisation”

    He has never said that.

    “There’s nothing imagined about the killings, there’s nothing imagined about the lies.”

    Oh, okay, I’ll look forward to the evidence you’re going to provide me of Adams involvement in those things.

    “I think that anyone who does not hate cold blooded murders has a fundamental moral ambiguity.”

    I can see your point, but Adams isn’t one of those, unless you know something the police do not.

    SF-100yos

    I just think that democracies should aspire to more than cheap, lazy, unproven allegation. Look at the republican effort on Finucane. Keep pushing and pushing until the sordid truth reveals itself. We will find the truth in those matters because of the resolution of those involved that the naked, unspun truth should emerge. Contrast your position on Adams. He must be a monster because you and people like you believe he is. No investigation needed. No evidence required. Thank you. Next.

    If you had more to offer, you’d show us more intellectual respect than your nudges, winks and innuendo.

    I’m not the kind of nationalist who you can shame with references to British courts. I’m no Brit-hater. I’m prepared to believe that the British justice system is not utterly corrupt and incompetent. Irish courts could have tried him for IRA membership too, and to a very watery standard. Why have they never done so?

    The denunciations of Adams have gotten more and more shrill the closer he nudges the IRA towards oblivion and edges SF towards power. The cult of Adams hatred longs for more lurid tales of imagined wrongdoing so that it can be further repulsed. It’s a form of sado-masochism.

    First he was a callow foot soldier, then he dreamt up, planned and executed bloody friday, then he killed Jean McConville and had her body dumped, then he had his own men murdered at Loughgall to favour his own political career, then he was the directing mind and will of the RA for more than a generation, then he planned the Northern, then…, then…, then………….

    You know who Gerry Adams has become for you guys, don’t you? Keyser Soze.

    Frankly, I have been (demonstrably!!) lied to so often by so many on the anti-shinner side that I simply don’t believe a word any unionist, any PD, any dissident republican or any copper says on the subject any more. I’m not alone.

    Of course, we could get to the bottom of this with a Truth and Reconciliation Committee. Republicans would go for it. Would unionists? Would HMG?

  • SF – 100 years of spin

    I take it then, MCT, you do not know any pre-ceasefire IRA people who would be willing to sit down and have a talk with you about the way things work.

    Because you are arguing such a silly position, your credibility is gone. By insisting on making this straw man argument real, it is hard to believe the substance of your other (more important) points. You are insisting on selling a fraud regarding Adams and his relationship with the IRA, which makes it hard to believe you are not being fraudulent with the other things you would want to persuade people you are being sincere about.

    Adams has this same problem. This does not mean you need to imitate it here.

    You don’t need to talk with a unionist, a PD, a dissident republican or a copper. It was not suggested that you do so. You simply need to sit down with someone who was/is in the IRA who won’t mislead you. I am assuming that you know people you can talk to, however, given your response that is probably a generous assumption on my part.

  • Democratic

    To Spirit-Level
    That rant about venial sins (republicans) vs mortal sins (unionists) had the honour of being the first post I have ever read on Slugger that had riled me to actual anger.(as opposed to the usual resigned disapointment) (deep breath!)
    I am not Catholic nor do I understand everything about the forgiveable and damning status of various sins in your ethos – nor do I think it is relevant anyway to tell the truth – however to claim that the many violent and heinous atrocities committed by the IRA or the Republican movement (whichever label you prefer) during the 30 year campaign were wrong but understandable and even forgiveable under the circumstances of the times when compared with the “EVIL of Unionist hatred and oppression” is romanticised green-spectacled garbage to be quite honest.
    You are offering insult to the many innocents who suffered at the hands of Republican terrorists including a close member of my own family with such a narrow-minded stance. I will not justify any kind of unionist hatred and oppression to you nor make excuses for it in any way – I will not try to tell you for example that the 1st Para Reg. were totally vindicated for their actions on Bloody Sunday because of the pressure they may have been under on the day and in the wider circumstances of the times – why? – because for me it wouldn’t hold anymore water than your questionable moral musings. Ultimately you seem to be saying that Republicans are prepared to accept and face up to their wrong-doings so long as Unionism admits that theirs’ were much worse and forced violent Republicanism to kill, maim and terrorise – (because no matter how you dress it up that is the undisputable reality of many IRA actions) This viewpoint as I am sure you know will not find any favor among unionists of any hue and there would be no hypocrisy for me in that – despite the shyness of the main unionist polictians in tackling the abberation of loyalist violence both in the past and present.

  • Keith M

    m-c t, a long post and yet you still didn’t answer my key question. Let me ask again. Was Adams lying in the 1970s and 1980s when he represented the IRA in talks with the UK government, or is he lying for the last 10 years when he said he was never in the IRA. Which is it?

  • Keith M

    I’m still waiting….