Tribalist clouds swamp Republican vision

Eoghan Harris argues strongly that the responsibility for the debacle of yesterday’s event is a lack of leadership and vision from right across the political and media classes.

WE have disgraced ourselves again. And I do mean we. We cannot pretend the tribal thugs who attacked the Protestant march came from another planet. We share too many of their sectarian attitudes to allow us off the hook. In the words of Alexander Herzen about the Russian anarchists: “they are the syphilis of our passions.” Do you doubt we share the same tribal passions as the lumpen republicans who used iron railings to rip into the marchers?

Of the politicians, the worst he alleges is silence:

Far from the Taoiseach and his ministers making firm calls for calm and tolerance, they stayed largely silent on the symbolic importance of the march passing off peacefully. Past comparisons of Protestants and Nazis made by President McAleese and Fr Alec Reid – and widely reported by the tabloids – have not helped to cool the tribal temperature.

He argues that in the absence of sustained political leadership the media began the day in ‘tribal mode’:

Meantime, most of the Irish media went into tribal mode. This ranged from the amused indifference affected by most mainstream commentators to the openly tribal stance taken up by some presenters on Newstalk 106, so much so that a few weeks ago I called it Tribal talk 106 in my weekly column. Given that Newstalk is aimed at a Dublin audience, it might have been expected to create as much empathy as possible between marchers and public by explaining the sufferings of South Armagh Protestants. But no.

On Saturday morning, only a few hours before the march started, Newstalk was carrying competitions for jokes about “why the Orangeman crossed the road”. This was followed by a five-second clip from Damien Kiberd’s lunchtime show in which he mockingly asked if they were going to play ‘Kick the Pope’ music? In the absence of any pluralist programmes putting the point of view of the Protestant marchers, are we asked to believe that this did not create a sour climate?

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  • Woof McDog

    The march wasnt about victims it was just more politics from a bunch of DUP voters.

    Willie Frazer is a bigot and everytime he opens his mouth he confirms this. Did you hear the fool debating the Rev. Frazer on the BBC “Talkback” show?. Have you read his quotes from Susan Mackays book Northern protestants?.

    If it were about innocent victims why the need for loyalist bandsmen in militaristic uniforms with paramilitary badges. Why the need to beat the drum a bit louder and play the sash?.

    And as for innocent victims. UDR men – full combatants in the troubles – Innocent?? HELLO.

    I live in a border town and know very well what the UDR were like. I remember particularly one incident when some friends and I (protestant AND Catholic) were visiting the grave of a friend who had committed suicide. The good ol boys from the UDR came into the graveyard assaulted some of us, threatened some of the rest of us with being shot and told one of our Prod mates not to be hanging about with ” Fenian bastards”.

    I am amazed at how little southerners and the southern press actually know about Northern Loyalists.

    Protestants who feel they have a grievance have every right to march through Dublin – but with flute bands?…isnt that just a tad provocative?.

    This doesnt pardon the behaviour of the rioters who behaved like arseholes but to our southern pals

    welcome to our world.

  • slug

    “Tribalist clouds swamp Republican vision”

    The heading seems even more apt given the first post in this thread!!!

  • J McConnell

    And what did the republican scum do after trying to attack the Prods..

    why, they started attacking asians…

    http://backseatdrivers.blogspot.com/2006/02/attack-on-westland-row.html

  • missfitz

    extraordinary pics there of the man being beaten outside the centra. heart warming to see the young patriot in the hoodie with the irish flag exercising his constitutional right to attack someone in broad daylight. surely this is what we hoped to achieve when seeking our right to self determination

  • slug

    Missfitz

    This site has a lot of extraordinary videos and pictures of the riots

    (scroll down for the videos and click on the arrow to make them play)

  • Nicholas G. Moses

    The march wasnt about victims it was just more politics from a bunch of DUP voters.

    To tell you the truth, I was more than a little surprised by the blatant spin given this story by the press. How could they expect Irish people not to be sore about this? Can Irish Catholics march on London in memorial of the Potato Famine victims? Or even better, I wonder if I Americans might be up for a parade in London to commemorate the American fallen in the War of 1812?

  • slug

    Its extraordinary watching that guy, on one of the clips I linked, wearing the tricolour, smashing in the window of the car with a big stick.

    Think about the meaning of the tricolour, the three colours, peace and harmony between orangeman and irish nationalist, and then consider aims of the rioters (i.e. “do all you can to stop them”).

    Sad.

  • Woof McDog

    “Tribalist clouds swamp Republican vision”

    Slug wrote: The heading seems even more apt given the first post in this thread!!!

    Use your loaf – FAIR is a PROTESTANT ONLY victims group, Love Ulster is sectarian to its core. Loyalist flute bands arent known for their cross community work.

    What part of tribalist dont you understand?.

  • Woof McDog

    And lest I be misunderstood – people who attack others in the street wrapped in tricolors arent republicans they are just scumbags.

  • slug

    Ahem. The word was tribalist. Not religious. Sheesh!

  • I work in Dublin during the week and listened to Tom Brannigan’s show on 2FM a few times. The march was a topic a few times, and the conduct of this was quite similar to the article above. I’ve witnessed loads of debates up here on TV, radio etc, with people slinging their views at each other, so the type of views themselves are never a shock to me. What was a shock was the way the show was conducted. To me a talk back style programme has a presenter who is impartial and bounces the argument back and forward at anyone invited on the show. This guy was unreal, totally unprofessional with his own agenda. It was ‘we’, as in the audience and me against the aliens coming down from the North. I was shocked for the first time at what I was hearing. He should take some lessons from the likes of Dunceith, Curruthers, Thompson etc. professionals who throw the counter argument at anyone on the show. It’s this undercurrent which is bred into the southerners which confirms to me that a United Ireland will never be on for me. I couldn’t stomach it, being ruled by this beast of a monoculture.

  • Henry94

    Eoughan Harris shares with the rioters a lack of nuance and an inability (possibly a hangover from his Marxism) to ascribe anything but malice to people who don’t share his perspective.

    Far from the Taoiseach and his ministers making firm calls for calm and tolerance, they stayed largely silent on the symbolic importance of the march passing off peacefully.

    How much influence does he think the Taoiseach and his Ministers have on Republican Sinn Fein supporters. About as much as the Sunday Independent I would suggest.

    He is also like the dissidents in his inability to see history in anything other than black and white terms. Rather than coming to a mature understanding of his republican youth he appears to have simlpy flipped sides while remaining an extremist.

    The vast majority of Irish people wanted the Love Ulster parade to go ahead. It was the job of the governments and the Gardai to see that it did. The failure is theirs. They need to explain why 300 thugs were given a veto over Irish democracy.

  • Henry94

    Eoughan Harris shares with the rioters a lack of nuance and an inability (possibly a hangover from his Marxism) to ascribe anything but malice to people who don’t share his perspective.

    Far from the Taoiseach and his ministers making firm calls for calm and tolerance, they stayed largely silent on the symbolic importance of the march passing off peacefully.

    How much influence does he think the Taoiseach and his Ministers have on Republican Sinn Fein supporters. About as much as the Sunday Independent I would suggest.

    He is also like the dissidents in his inability to see history in anything other than black and white terms. Rather than coming to a mature understanding of his republican youth he appears to have simlpy flipped sides while remaining an extremist.

    The vast majority of Irish people wanted the Love Ulster parade to go ahead. It was the job of the governments and the Gardai to see that it did. The failure is theirs. They need to explain why 300 thugs were given a veto over Irish democracy.

    Henry94

  • woof mcdog

    Of course Eoghan Harris is right about one thing – that southern societies notion that it is somehow above yesterdays mob is wrong.

    I remember being lectured by a Monaghan clergyman once about the all embracing merits of the Republic in contrast to our petty northern sectarianism.

    The guy was from Clones a town with a small Protestant minority, small because a good few of them had been intimidated out of their homes in the early days of the state. In Monaghan the IRA of the day, yeah those guys who more or less founded the Irish Republic – remember them – even shot ” protestant” cattle hahahaha.

    Its easy to get on with people far away.

    Its also great hearing southerners stand up for the right to play sectarian music, beat the drum, and wear a UVF collarette.

    My dad was a catholic my mother a prod – they were intimidated out of their home in a predominantly loyalist area of east Belfast in 1970. Strange, they never really liked marching music.

    God bless the west brits bending over backwards, or is it forewards.

  • IJP

    Pity that no one is prepared to take the blinkers off and understand what Mr Harris is saying.

    He is saying that either you’re against sectarianism, or you’re not.

    It is perfectly legitimate to point out that ‘Love Ulster’ is guilty of sectarianism – but you then cannot defend ‘Newstalk’ when it is guilty of sectarianism. One doesn’t make the other right. Either you’re pro-sectarian, or you’re anti-sectarian. It is not good enough to oppose anti-Catholic sectarianism without also opposing anti-Protestant sectarianism.

    Mr Harris is entirely right. Sectarianism is a poison which affects us all, right across the island (even if it’s only regularly noticeable in Northern ‘interface’ areas). It is the way we’re brought up. And it takes guts to think your way beyond it.

    In true Irish Republicanism there is no room for ‘them’ and ‘us’ on this island.

  • Henry94

    IJP

    It is perfectly legitimate to point out that ‘Love Ulster’ is guilty of sectarianism – but you then cannot defend ‘Newstalk’ when it is guilty of sectarianism.

    The important thing is that neither Love Ulster’s right to march nor Newstalk’s right to broadcast should be interfered with by people who don’t get the concept of democracy. Harris is entitled to his opinion but no more than that (to borrow a phrase)

    But the record shows that when it comes to broadcasters censoring and disregarding opinions Newstalk have nothing at all to teach Harris. He wrote the book.

    I’m surprised nobody in the media has picked up on the implications for any proposed visit by the Queen of England to Dublin. RSF’s newspaper Saorise made that one of their main reasons for opposing the march and their sucess yesterday poses a direct challenge to the state on the issue.

    Here is what they said

    3 The third reason to oppose this loyalist march is clear. For some time now the 26-County State Establishment has sought to bring the Queen of England on an official state visit to Dublin. Remember this crowned head claims to be “Queen of Northern Ireland” as well as of “Great Britain”. Such a personage making such a claim has not been seen in Dublin for 95 years – since 1911. The proposed loyalist march is very definitely part of a softening-up process for an Official Visit to Dublin by an English Queen claiming part of Ireland. The like has not been seen since Partition in 1921. And now on the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising … the siren voices tell Republicans to ignore this loyalist march. If we do, they will return with even greater insistence and tell us to ignore the state Visit of the Queen of England. In other words, to stay away, make no protest, and accept finally that the Six Occupied Counties belong to England. Is that what you want?

  • Henry94

    IJP

    It is perfectly legitimate to point out that ‘Love Ulster’ is guilty of sectarianism – but you then cannot defend ‘Newstalk’ when it is guilty of sectarianism.

    The important thing is that neither Love Ulster’s right to march nor Newstalk’s right to broadcast should be interfered with by people who don’t get the concept of democracy. Harris is entitled to his opinion but no more than that (to borrow a phrase)

    But the record shows that when it comes to broadcasters censoring and disregarding opinions Newstalk have nothing at all to teach Harris. He wrote the book.

    I’m surprised nobody in the media has picked up on the implications for any proposed visit by the Queen of England to Dublin. RSF’s newspaper Saorise made that one of their main reasons for opposing the march and their sucess yesterday poses a direct challenge to the state on the issue.

    Here is what they said

    3 The third reason to oppose this loyalist march is clear. For some time now the 26-County State Establishment has sought to bring the Queen of England on an official state visit to Dublin. Remember this crowned head claims to be “Queen of Northern Ireland” as well as of “Great Britain”. Such a personage making such a claim has not been seen in Dublin for 95 years – since 1911. The proposed loyalist march is very definitely part of a softening-up process for an Official Visit to Dublin by an English Queen claiming part of Ireland. The like has not been seen since Partition in 1921. And now on the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising … the siren voices tell Republicans to ignore this loyalist march. If we do, they will return with even greater insistence and tell us to ignore the state Visit of the Queen of England. In other words, to stay away, make no protest, and accept finally that the Six Occupied Counties belong to England. Is that what you want?

    Henry94

  • Brian Boru

    More of the same from Harris. He is forever demonising the founders of this State and the 1916 rebels. He is a member I understand of the Reform movement, which wants us to scrap our national anthem and flag, and to replace the former with the symbol of Ireland contained in the Union Flag. They endlessly rant about the 1916 rebels being “fascists” without an electoral mandate. They conveniently neglect to mention the cancellation of the 1915 UK election, which effectively undermined the mandate of the Home Rule party.

    They also neglect to mention the foundation of the UVF which pledged to use force to resist Home Rule, and which imported 24,000 rifles and 3 million rounds of ammunition into Larne, Bangor and Donaghadee.Why don’t they call that “fascism”? Of course, the Howth gunrunning by the Irish Volunteers met a very different response to the Northern ones, i.e. the British army killed people while ignoring the UVF gunrunning.

    How dare Harris and co. tar me and the rest of the Irish nation with responsibility for what a tiny minority of psychopaths did yesterday. They do not represent me. They are not true republicans. They are just bigots and anarchists with virtually no support down here. Next thing I wonder will Harris will be joining the DUP, such is his apparent increasing hatred for his country. He never loses an opportunity to run down Irish nationalism and tar us all with the brush of the terrorist minority. Yet he seems deaf and blind to the continuing loyalist terror campaign against its community, and the fact that it has been 8 years since a Northern Unionist has been killed by Republicans. We cannot, unfortunately, say the same about the other way around e.g. Thomas Devlin.

  • Brian Boru

    Woof McDog7 at post 19 is me, Brian Boru.

  • TAFKABO

    Yet he seems deaf and blind to the continuing loyalist terror campaign against its community, and the fact that it has been 8 years since a Northern Unionist has been killed by Republicans.

    The family of Trevor Kells, killed in 2000 might disagree with you over that point.
    indeed, the IRA who disciplind a member by shooting him after the murder took place might also disagree with you, though only in private.

    ~~TAFKABO~~

  • Real Woof McDog

    IJS wrote:

    In true Irish Republicanism there is no room for ‘them’ and ‘us’ on this island.

    How true – real republicanism rejects ALL sectarianism in favor of national unity beneficial to all – well at least thats the idea.

    So for real republicans heres the challenge.

    How to deal with loyalism which is largely BUILT on sectarianism.

    Pretend it isnt there?. Excuse it as “culture”?.

    No wonder so many people in the Republic are dead against the idea of a united Ireland it might upset their smug little monolith.

  • TAFKABO

    No wonder so many people in the Republic are dead against the idea of a united Ireland it might upset their smug little monolith.

    I think the word is monopoly.

    😉

  • “loyalism which is largely BUILT on sectarianism”

    Loyalism is no more (and probably no less) built on sectarianism than Republicanism (certainly modern Republicanism).

    The first challenge to Republicanism is to understand loyalism – know thine enemy.

    But sure it’s much more fun to break stuff.

  • fair_deal

    “UVF collarette”

    There is no such thing.

  • fair_deal

    This is from fair deal as was the 10.07pm post

    There have been a lot of claims about the bands who went down to participate in the abortive Love Ulster rally.

    Can any of the republican cheerleaders/quasi-apologists provide a list of the bands who were there and what they supposedly had on display? Or is it claims are just being made in a desperate attempt to justify?

    Remember boys and girls – Justification is like masturbation the only person who it fcuks is yourself

  • Brian Boru

    “The family of Trevor Kells, killed in 2000 might disagree with you over that point.
    indeed, the IRA who disciplind a member by shooting him after the murder took place might also disagree with you, though only in private.”

    6 years ago then.

  • elfinto

    It seems that Harris has managed to break out of the strightjacket again.

  • Tiny

    To tell you the truth, I was more than a little surprised by the blatant spin given this story by the press. How could they expect Irish people not to be sore about this? Can Irish Catholics march on London in memorial of the Potato Famine victims? Or even better, I wonder if I Americans might be up for a parade in London to commemorate the American fallen in the War of 1812?

    Posted by Nicholas G. Moses on Feb 26, 2006 @ 06:50 PM

    Yes they could Nicholas

  • Mick Fealty

    Fintan,

    You know the rules.

  • elfinto

    Sorry Mick but he owes me some superdollars.

  • TAFKABO

    6 years ago then.

    No, four years ago, half of your claim that it has been eight years since a protestant was killed by republicans.

    David Caldwell was killed by republicans in 2002.
    It’s weird Brian, because you have such detailed knowledge of other events.
    One would almost get the impression that you have a blind spot to certain uncomfortable facts.

  • Brian Boru

    “6 years ago then.

    No, four years ago, half of your claim that it has been eight years since a protestant was killed by republicans.

    David Caldwell was killed by republicans in 2002.
    It’s weird Brian, because you have such detailed knowledge of other events.
    One would almost get the impression that you have a blind spot to certain uncomfortable facts.”

    Was this man actually killed by a paramilitary group? Murders happen in every society and literally every country. No-one said that the GFA was going to mean the end of crime.

    It certainly isn’t 4 years since the last Catholic was killed by Loyalists. Or indeed Protestants killed by them. It is the Loyalist terror groups that are the main threat at the moment. Admit this.

  • TAFKABO

    Was this man actually killed by a paramilitary group? Murders happen in every society and literally every country. No-one said that the GFA was going to mean the end of crime.

    He was killed by a booby trap device planted by dissident republicand, of the top of my head it was within the same seven day period that Daniel McColgan was killed by loyalists.
    Now, if it so happens that you remember the name of Danny McColgan but not david Calwell, ask yourself why?

    It certainly isn’t 4 years since the last Catholic was killed by Loyalists. Or indeed Protestants killed by them. It is the Loyalist terror groups that are the main threat at the moment. Admit this.

    Firstly, I have never and will never, excuse dismiss or try to diminish what the Loyalists have done, or might do.
    I don’t understand why you felt you had to make that point.

    As for them being the greatest threat, no, I think the greatest threat comes from dissident republicans.
    The Loyalists are at least enagaged in a process, unlike the dissidents.

  • woof mcdog

    with respect TAFKABO the loyalists have been engaged in the process a long time – and still dont show much signs of changing.

    Dissident republicans number how many? and with what support?……while the UDA and UVF numbers are to say the least substantial.

  • There is a total misrepresentation/ misunderstanding what ‘Loyalist ‘ Bands actually are. These bands arent overtly political bodies. Politics SOMETIMES becomes an issue because of our surroundings, but these bands are primarily community based youth organisations. Perhaps the most simple illustration of this is the oft quoted fact that the vast, vast, vast majority of ‘band’ parades take place within their own communities- a direct contradiction of the suggestion their sole purpose is too antagonise. The uniforms, insignia and reportoire are direct manifestations of the cultural and social traditions where these bands develop- we are talking centuries here. Nothing more. These bands were invited to this rally because they are such an integral part of their communities and they add colour and music to any event, not for any other purpose.

    In addition, while i dont feel it is my place to name them, all six bands that travelled to Dublin are held of the highest esteem and have absolutly NO (and i mean NONE at all) paramilitary connections. 5 were from predominatly small rural communities in Armagh and Down where Protestants and security forces have been the extreme majority of victims during the ‘troubles’.

  • Pat mc Larnon

    ‘As for them being the greatest threat, no, I think the greatest threat comes from dissident republicans.
    The Loyalists are at least enagaged in a process, unlike the dissidents.’

    The process they were involved in only last week was beating a man to death in Carrickfergus. Even a cursory glance at the statistics of the past few years will show that the overwhelming majority of vioence emanates from within the unionist community. Why people try to down play unionist violence and blatantly lie about it is disturbing.

  • southern liberal

    Great reporting from Roisin Ingle in the Irish Times – so much for sectarianism being a solely unionist condition:

    Across the road, a young boy, he can’t be more than 16, uses a length of pipe to smash the windows of the Ulster Bank. A cheer erupts. “Where are the orange bastards?” someone shouts.
    “You fucking Brit-loving bastards,” a rioter shouts at the gardaí. “Protecting fucking Protestants. You should be ashamed to be Irish.” Some of us are.
    These are Dubliners. They sing Olé, Olé, Olé as they throw missiles and they shout I, I, IRA. Outside the Londis newsagents at the corner of Westmoreland Street and Aston Quay, one of the ringleaders of this rioting faction wears a black football top that is an homage to the hunger strikers 25 years ago. Sands 81 is printed in white lettering on the back. Obligingly, he stops throwing bottles long enough to explain why he is here.
    “It’s those Protestants coming down here,” he says in a strong Dublin accent, spitting out the words.
    “They are nothing but Orange c***s. They are Shankill Boys and Shankill Butchers. They are marching in memory of people killed by the IRA, but the IRA wouldn’t have had to kill anyone if Catholics weren’t tortured and given no jobs and treated like second-class citizens.
    “And if they like England so much then tell them to go back. There is a B&I ferry leaving the port down the road at 4pm. Tell them to go fuck themselves and go back there because this,” he gestures around at the masked youths firing bottles at the gardaí, “is Ireland’s answer to them.”
    Someone has found a wheelie bin full of empty bottles in a side street leading to Temple Bar. The contents are spilled on to Aston Quay and rioters help themselves to missiles from this unorthodox bottle bank. As they throw bottles, a man takes a spade to the side window of the Londis store.
    After a few swings, a jagged hole is cut in the window and men and women swarm around it, reaching in for boxes of chocolates and cans of beer which they raise jubilantly like trophies over their heads.
    Gardaí swarm around them, chasing the looters, waving their batons, ordering people off the street.
    A boy who looks about 12-years-old tells me he just hit a garda on the head with a bottle.
    “It was deadly,” he says.
    “He’s been driven to it by the Protestants and the Brits,” says one man anxious to justify the boy’s actions.

  • Felix Quigley

    I have my differences with Eoghan Harris, my main one being that I support the Irish national struggle leading to the Treaty, and especially the national heroes of 1916.

    Republicanism in relation to the North and Protestants, that is a different story. I oppose the Republican attempt to force Protestants into a united State.

    However the main point that Eoghan makes above is the role of the radio station Newstalk 106.

    This is ignored above by all of you I wonder how many of you bothered to read Harris.

    I paid Harris attention because I had already been told about the anti-Israel position of this station but I will deal with that later.

  • jim

    Outside the Londis newsagents at the corner of Westmoreland Street and Aston Quay, one of the ringleaders of this rioting faction wears a black football top that is an homage to the hunger strikers 25 years ago. Sands 81 is printed in white lettering on the back…

    …After a few swings, a jagged hole is cut in the window and men and women swarm around it, reaching in for boxes of chocolates and cans of beer which they raise jubilantly like trophies over their heads.

  • Shore Road Resident

    It will be interesting to see if Kiberd responds to this article by Harris. He should do – it is a fairly pointed accusation.

  • barnshee

    love it – all the pro SF/IRA/CIRA/etc atc all exposed to world for what they are– and all the scrambling to deflect “BLAME” — when ger and martin and the rest disappear (leaving cat to ruane it) you know they are running scared

    love it

  • Brian Boru

    I hear on Liveline on RTE radio 1 the LU marchers had brought UDA banners. So much for being a victims group.

  • ed

    No one seems to get it that these rioters were mainly just the local Dubling scumbags out to get their own back at the gardaí. While they may not have been exactly over the moon about orange order bigots marching through o connell street bringing the city centre to a standstill most of their agression seemed to have been focused against the gardaí who lock these lowlifes up all the time. Im sure Sherrif street and the North East inner city in general was well represented by these scum.

    I as a Dub speak for alot of Dubs in saying that I wasnt happy about orange pipe bands marching through Dublin but if they want to continue with their crap they have a democratic right to do so. I would have been much happeier if this march was representetative of those who lost loved ones due to paramillitary murderers on both sides.

  • Reader

    Brian Boru5 (??): Hardly totally unbiased reporting from someone who loves to write about her unionist boyfriend from Portadown
    So, for unbiased reporting, we need people who are neither unionist nor nationalist, and are not connected with unionists or nationalists? Where can we find such independence?
    (Reader)

  • Susan and Sean Murphy

    [Removed for most decidedly playing the man and not the ball – perhaps you’ll read the comments policy before posting again]