A stark choice: together or forever separate?

At the beginning of the week, Roy Garland took up the DUP’s MEP Jim Allister on a press release that only briefly appeared on their website last week and then mysteriously disappeared. It was an all out attack on the Unionist Group’s Drawing a line under the past document. In summation he argues:

Either we begin to live together, share our fears and tears and bind up each other’s wounds or we remain entrapped forever by the sectarian stumbling blocks we inherited. Given this, Alister’s allegation that we don’t make an adequate distinction between innocent victims and perpetrators seems meaningless. Neither victims nor perpetrators are mentioned because the forums were not intended exclusively for them. But after engaging with both ex-paramilitaries and victims, I have discovered the same pain, the same anguish, the same nightmares and sometimes the same symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

It doesn’t matter whether one is victim, perpetrator, loyalist, republican, unionist, nationalist or something else. If one has suffered pain as a result of our conflict the results differ primarily only in degree. If someone joined a paramilitary grouping, perhaps as a young teenager, to defend his or her community and is injured or traumatised, they become a victim in my book – innocence or guilt is in some sense beside the point. Many years ago I naively listened to political/religious sermons of the DUP leadership. There were no restrictions then on dialogue with paramilitaries – we only had to talk with ourselves.

One wonders why the DUP feels it must attack and misrepresent such proposals. One is tempted to assume some of them still don’t want a Fenian about the place. The real danger is that in their mad pursuit of power they have lost all semblance of principle and will back the kind of truth commission sought by Sinn Féin while trying to rule out any probe into their own role and blame others and try to hold them out to dry.

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  • fair_deal

    “The article then mysteriously disappeared and I can only assume this is related to the private dialogue taking place between DUP and nationalist politicians.”

    Wrong Roy so your conspiracy theory doesn’t fly.
    Took me 30 secs to find it on the DUP website. It wasn’t removed it seems it was simply shifted from the Latest news section to the News Archive.

    http://www.dup.org.uk/articles.asp?Article_ID=2149

  • Stephen Copeland

    fair_deal,

    Of course you are right, and have no doubt brought a blush to Garland’s face, but what interests me is the following statement:

    … the private dialogue taking place between DUP and nationalist politicians

    Whatever it is that he knows, he is not letting on, but he clearly is aware of some rustling in the bushes. You appear to be an ‘insider’ – do you know anything more?

  • fair_deal

    SC

    “You appear to be an ‘insider’”

    I am not a party member but I would have extensive contacts in all the Unionist parties plus my work gets me round the country a good bit hence I have a reasonable way of picking most things up. Thus insider is not the best description well-informed outsider is more accurate.

    “Whatever it is that he knows, he is not letting on”

    I seriously doubt Roy has any serious understanding or knowledge of what is going on in the DUP. Also in personal conversations I have had with him over the years he has tried to peddle this stuff before, so I’d take any repetition with a pinch of salt.

    Roy is playing a game, his statement is a very vague one so if he was pressed he could find something small to justify what he is saying.

    What does “private dialogue” mean?

    I know of councils were the DUP groups have given councillor(s) the task of building better relations with the SDLP and they have been working away at that, one to one chats etc. It could be MPs meeting in a tea room in parliament – no media to see it thus its private. It could be clandestine meetings. Roy’s vagueness covers all scenarios and i think it is intentionally so.

    What does “nationalist” mean?

    SDLP? Prominent Roman Catholics? SF? The DUP have been holding talks with the SDLP. There is some contact with the Catholic church. This information is in the public domain if not massively so. In the last couple of election campaigns the DUP has tried to get more in the Irish News to explain its position to the nationalist community more.

    There is no private dialogue with Sinn Fein (no one in the DUP is that foolish).

    Roy is throwing a pebble hoping it creates some waves (the likes of your query) but there is little reason that it even merits a ripple.

  • Stephen Copeland

    fair_deal,

    Thanks for that. I agree with everything you say, and my own (small) dealings with Garland tend to back it up too.

  • joinedupthinking

    “One is tempted to assume some of them still don’t want a Fenian about the place.”

    A bit of originality there, eh.

  • truthseeker

    “Roy is throwing a pebble hoping it creates some waves (the likes of your query) but there is little reason that it even merits a ripple.
    Posted by fair_deal on Apr 07, 2006 @ 01:27 PM”

    Come come Fair deal, is irt not the other way round? DUP heavyweight Jim Alister MEP is the one who has nothing better to do poltically with his life, except throw rocks at an UNOFFICIAL Unionist group document which was never UUP policy to begin with, while Peter Robinson has given one of the best speechs of his life in Washington.

    DUP MEP Jim Alister has only helped elevate the station of the Unionist Group’s “Drawing a line under the past” document. much more than those who helped compile it ever expected.

  • fair_deal

    truthseeker

    The pebble comment referred to Garland’s claim around private talks not the document.

    If someone issues a document publicly then people are entitled to comment. Also Jim Allister’s statement does not describe it as an official UUP document.

    The fact that Roy used his regular column to keep attention on the paper and a false claim as its premise shows who is trying to elevate the discussion paper and vainly trying to keep it in the public arena.

  • truthseeker

    “If someone issues a document publicly then people are entitled to comment.”

    Yes will then kindly comment on the document not just the someone.who helped issue the document. Roy Garland was only the messenger for a number of other Unionists who helped compile “Drawing a line under the past” document. 

  • Loyalist

    Jim Allister’s letter of response in the Irish News, put Garland, well and truly back into his box.

  • truthseeker

    Jim Allister’s letter of response in the Irish News, put Garland, well and truly back into his box. Posted by Loyalist on Apr 14, 2006 @ 12:19 PM

    Sure that is all Jim Allister and most DUP politicans can do is put people in their boxes. When it comes to putting the “Drawing a line under the past” document. in a box he fails miserably. In fact we are all still waiting for Jim’s Allister’s leader Ian paisley of the DUP to put the Good Friday Agreement in a box like the DUP promised the electorate. The supporters of the DUP at the last election are still waiting for this dreaded document to be destroyed once and for all.

    What happened to the promise?