Still waiting after all these years


It’s almost 10 years since the Manchester bombings, and it seems quite extraordinary that some of the 200 victims are still waiting for any kind of financial compensation.

It seems that all is not lost though, and the Northern Ireland Memorial Fund will be stepping into the breach, to help the Manchester victims. I was a little surprised by the statement from NIMF “We may not be around forever so it could be a question of use us or lose us.”

I have no doubt that some of the local victims who may have had a little difficulty accessing the Fund in the past will be interested in this development. Certainly, I hadn’t heard about it until researching this piece, and find it to be quite interesting in the context of the remit of the Memorial Fund. Roisin Coleman of the fund said: “It is true that most of the people we help are living in Northern Ireland where a lot are referred to us by victim support groups, but people affected on the mainland are just as entitled to help.

For those unfamiliar, the fund was set up in 1999 after a report by former Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam, who died last year, who argued that, after peace, a living fund would be more use than building a memorial. My own personal preference would be for a permanent physical memorial, but that’s a topic for another thread!

While some trauma experts will look at an expectation of compensation as something that often stands in the way of full recovery, this is a different matter entirely. Swift and adequate compensation can assist enormously in helping victims make a recovery from at least the physical effects of a terrorist act such as this. Experts such as Judith Herman sometimes talk about an unrealistic search for compensation: In many cases what is being sought is a turning back of the clock to the point where there was no involvement in the incident hence the “fantasy of compensation”.

  • Crataegus

    If what I hear is correct there are also a lot of people in NI who have received no compensation to date and many of them go back a right while.

    Then there are those that don’t fit into the narrow criteria for receiving payment. Both parents get murdered but you are not illegible as you did not see the actual event, you may have watch as they died but that doesn’t count.?!*.

    It is a bit like the treatment of war widows utterly shoddy. I have very strong views on how governments should behave and facing you obligations promptly and honestly is high on my priorities. Governments need to set a standard, but do they hell. Why do they not, poor leadership, with questionable standards.

    Oh finally, right lads what exactly did this bomb achieve? Like the rest of the atrocities how can you possibly justify it? How would you define someone who is prepared to maim, injure, mutilate and murder in order to achieve an objective freedom fighter or psychopath?

    Oh and please spare me the so & so did this and the Brits 400years ago did something much worse, none of it is OK and none of it can be justified. What gives any of you the right to take life?

    P.S. I just know someone will mention Iraq. I would be delighted if Mr Blair was brought up for war crimes as he should and I would also be equally delighted if those responsible for the deaths and murders through collusion were put behind bars. These are ALL criminal acts.

    So no excuses just explain to me how you can justify bombing innocent people out shopping? I really want to know.

  • pid

    I agree completely with your sentiments,C.

    But to honestly answer your question

    Oh finally, right lads what exactly did this bomb achieve?

    IMHO the bombing of British cities, terrible as it was, did influence BG policy in NI, and made the BG more amenable to doing a deal with the IRA.

    I happen to believe that the armed campaign was, in totality, counterproductive to the aims of Irish Nationalism, and morally unjustified.

    But republican violence, and British and loyalist violence, has, in the past achieved political results.

    I suppose I will be pilloried now as an apologist for the IRA’s campaign.

  • heck

    Crataegus

    As someone who constantly brings up Iraq I want to say that I have no objection to the views you express whatever and find them consistent and morally admirable.

    I just get p***ed off with people who support the war in Iraq and claim to be opposed to terrorists in government or worse who claim to oppose violence. I get p***ed of a people who say we should support the PSNI because the believe in “the rule of law”.

    The pacifist position is the only really moral position. Norn Iron was the worse for not having people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King to lead the movement for change in a non violent manner.

    However do accept that some of us do not have the strength of principle of a true pacifist. It then becomes a political judgment as to the lesser of evils. As I mentioned before on this site if often comes down to my evil bastards over your evil bastards.

  • Dualta

    Heck:

    [i]The pacifist position is the only really moral position. Norn Iron was the worse for not having people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King to lead the movement for change in a non violent manner.

    However do accept that some of us do not have the strength of principle of a true pacifist.[/i]

    Fair play for saying it! You’re so right on saying that true pacifism is a very difficult philosophy to put into practice.

    When I was younger I once announced in a group discussing the issue that I was a pacifist. A more learned man that I made a point which I’ve wrestled with ever since.

    He asked me to imagine that I had a baby daughter who was sleeping in an adjoining room. I hear a sound and go in to check and there, standing above her is the Mad Axe-man, about to kill the child. What do I do?

    I know the scenario is most unlikely, but he was basically putting the point to me that, whilst it may be the highest moral action to sacrifice yourself, rather than engage in an act of violence, don’t we have a moral duty to protect the weak against the violence of the strong? Srebrenica?

    So your post is deeply insightful and important.

    But your right, the nonviolent tradition of political action is the route to take, despite is obvious failings. Too many dismiss nonviolence as been airy-fairy and unworkable, yet is is deeply practical in many ways.

    Nonviolence may not be the silver bullet to all human ills, but there can be little doubt that, when applied in many situations, the results are positive for human society.

  • Crataegus

    Pid

    Thanks for the reply and like yourself I also think the armed struggle, as it is euphemistically called, was unquestionably counter productive and will cause problems for decades to come.

    Dualta

    imagine that I had a baby daughter who was sleeping in an adjoining room. I hear a sound and go in to check and there, standing above her is the Mad Axe-man, about to kill the child. What do I do?

    I am no totalitarian pacifist. Of course you protect the innocent, but to carry your analogy a little further Manchester is akin to going round to the Axe-man’s house and torturing his wife and children. That’s sure to make him see reason, and if that doesn’t work threaten to visit his mum!

    Heck

    It then becomes a political judgment as to the lesser of evils. As I mentioned before on this site if often comes down to my evil bastards over your evil bastards.

    Come on Heck, I know this isn’t what you really feel. Lesser of two evils? Bombing innocent people, come on! It is indiscriminate slaughter. It’s like bombing Dresden.

    What I can’t really get my mind around is how someone gets up one morning, has breakfast, cleans their teeth and goes out to deliver a bomb to a location where they know there will be mainly women, children and the elderly. This I suppose was a location that was economic and possibly could as easily be bombed at 4am? Do you have to slaughter to make a point?

    What hatred or bitterness enables someone to do this? The night after do you go home to friends and family and tuck the children into bed? What insanity drives any person to support any belief with such devilish dedication? Is any political construct worth the slaughter of the innocent? If it claims the end justifies the means then it definitely isn’t worthy.

    Is it pure hate, revenge, gullibility, pier pressure why does any one do this? Why risk your life (or take your life) to slaughter innocent people you have no contact with or grievance against?

    Of course there are the truly evil; the ones who make the decisions and send others out to do it for them. In my book they are the real deviants.

    Our governments bomb people to liberate them (from this earth probably) or to protect vested interests as individuals we are little better. Is it because we don’t know the victims that we make the decisions with such ease? If you think about it it is truly appalling.

  • Harry Flashman

    Heck

    No one like Martin Luther King to lead the struggle for change in a non-violent manner? You’re kidding right? There was no leader in Northern Ireland who campaigned for change without violence, is that what you are saying?

    Coz it’s just that I remember this bloke from Derry who from day one was campaigning for change and reform but who absolutely refuted violence, he was on the streets leading non violent civil rights demos all the time, he often quoted MLK and Ghandhi. He totally rejected violence and condemned it from what ever side it came. His political movement had no paramilitary wing and was instead dedicated to peaceful democratic change.

    He was of course loathed by the militants in his own community who never missed a chance to insult and lampoon him and who gloried in their own tribalist, sectarian bloodlust. The funny thing is that this guy was the architect of the Good Friday Agreement which the pro-violence nutjobs now regard as sacred text.

    Anyway this fellow’s retired now but not before he was given the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts, what was his name again, Ron Fume or something like that.

  • Harry

    The SDLP supported the police, took an oath to the queen to sit at westminster and were the main political representatives of the catholic church in n. ireland. In supporting the police and the army they showed they were ‘proper’ but not non-violent, since they supported the monopoly of violence exercised by the state. By taking an oath to the british queen and sitting in britain’s parliament they showed they were politically partisan in a way unacceptable to those who might also have campaigned peacefully for real change if real leadership and challenge in this direction had been shown. The SDLP, by submitting to the status quo, did not show such leadership.

    A better recipient of your accolade for non-violence might be a fellow Derryman, Eamon McCann.

    (p.s., during his time what did Hume ever actually achieve for the people of Derry, other than plaudits from the establishment goons in britain and ireland for being a nice middle-class man who didn’t cause trouble? Derry is a depressed city to this day.)

  • Dualta

    Harry Flashman has made very valid points regarding Hume and Harry has made valid points regarding the SDLP.

    Whilst he did espouse the philosophy and activity of nonviolence he did not manage to win over some of his party colleagues.

    Hume advised that the Nationalist community should ignore the marching issue and push for a macro political accomodation, knowing full well that the latter would provide a resolution to the former.

    Unfortunately many of his party colleagues feared that their party political opponents, Sinn Fein, were making all the running on the issue and they jumped on the bandwagon and got dragged, once again, into a sectarian squealing match. That was not Hume’s vision.

    He was right regarding the national question and how to achieve an end to partition and those who once vilified him for his ideas now adhere to them vociferously.

    Unfortunately, like Gandhi, Hume hasn’t seemed to have won over his allies to the cause of nonviolence. When Gandhi was assassinated the Indian government executed the conspiritors. This would have been an act of extreme immorality to Gandhi, who would have forgiven and released them and showered them with his love.

    Hume has left a party behind which pays no regard whatsoever to his ideas regarding nonviolence and has, on occasion, sought to exploit sectarian tensions for its own electoral end.

  • heck

    I don’t want to disagree with any of you. Hume was a great man and I voted (more than once) in the sluggerotoole poll for him as the greatest ulsterman ever. Unfortunately I don’t think I would put him in the same league as Gandhi and King. They were against the establishment (cf J. Edgar Hoover’s attempts to discredit King and Churchill’s racist comments on Gandhi). Hume was always a darling of the establishment.

    I was attempting to answer Crataegus question “how you can justify bombing innocent people out shopping”, and of course you can’t. Nothing can justify taking the life of a child.

    I don’t know what your views are on the politics of the middle east. Tonight on TV I saw the Israeli rocket attach on a beach in Gaza. Someone on the beach had a video camera. A little 8 year old girl was in the water and her whole family was wiped out. The film showed her running out of the water and running between the corpses of her mother and father. How can you justify killing a family out for a day at the beach? You can’t!! But how does saying this justify one position or another in the Israeli Palestinian dispute. Next week it might be film of dead school children blown up by a bomb in an Israeli pizza restaurant. How do you justify that? You can’t!!! However one side will point to the other to justify its position and try and point to the inhumanity of the other. Some cynics might even call this whataboutery and one side might accuse the other of mopery.

    In the middle east we can understand why, while reasonable people on each side will be shocked at such acts of violence, they will retreat to their own side. It is no different to the “my country, right or wrong” attitude. (In the case of free staters like RDE it is someone else’s country right or wrong.) That is what we have in northern Ireland, as I said, it is and “our murdering thugs are better than your murdering thugs” attitude. Unfortunately there are some unionists, and most brits, who don’t think their murdering thugs are murdering thugs-it’s all themuns. They think their shite doesn’t stink.

    Those who are true pacifists have the easy answer-and one which is hard to argue. It is all wrong. Those of us who are not that moral or principled must question out consciences every day and try and rationalize when violence is right and when it is wrong. Those who think wars are clean are smoking some good UDA crack. Those who think that a war is all “our smart bombs blowing up targets” or based on “the rule of law”, while their murders are only intent on “killing innocent civilians” and “are motivated by hate” have their heads up their asses.

    You did mention Iraq and feel compelled to bring it up. I agree with you that “I would be delighted if Mr Blair was brought up for war crimes”. However while I have some sympathy for both Loyalists and Republicans and think there but for the grace of god go I, ( I felt the rage that may nationalists did during the hunger strikes), I have none for Honest Tony and his henchmen. Both loyalist and republicans believe in something. I think there must be a special place in hell for the neo cons of new labour. They went to war, not for self defense or some dire national threat, or some high principle, but because Honest Tony wanted to be a big man on the world stage. The parliamentary labour party voted for the war because they did’nt want to rock the boat and lose their jobs. They were useless, ex NUS activists with polytech degrees and were afraid that if the lost their parliamentary status they could’nt do anything else. They believe in nothing and I hope they all burn in hell.

    As I said I get ticked of at those who use the pacifist argument against their opponents while supporting violence from their own side and I get ticked of at people who claim that belief in the rule of law means that one should support the PSNI/UVF of the criminal government in London.

  • D’Holbach

    Great thread! Thanks Miss Fitz and contributors.

  • Crataegus

    Heck,

    will probably reply later, very busy, travelling!

  • Harry Flashman

    Oh Fuck I just sprayed me beer all over the computer monitor, Eamon McCann a peaceful idealist, in which parallel universe?

    McCann is and always has been a revolutionary socialist, a Trotskyite, those kinda people have always had a special place reserved for pacifists, it’s usually in the lower basement of the Lubjanka with a bullet in the back of their heads. Marxists of McCann’s stripe are responsible for the biggest mass murder of civilians in the twentieth century, a hundred million at the last count, they leave the Nazis in the ha’penny place, so let’s not get too misty eyed about “idealists” like McCann, remember who their friends were.

    As I recall from the Saville enquiry, Bernadette was describing her journey to Derry with McCann on the morning of Bloody Sunday and he was joking about how many were going to be killed that day as he knew there was going to be serious aggro. Somehow I can’t see Ghandhi laughing about a thing like that.

    As a matter of interest I never voted for John Hume ever but to dismiss his achievements is to show yourself to be a meanspirited pigmy. What did he do for Derry eh? Well let’s look at what he didn’t do, he didn’t spend the 1970’s blowing the city into the stone age, daily demolishing shops and businesses as part of the war against the Brits, he didn’t murder the head of the local Du Pont factory as part of his radical socialism, he didn’t oversee the ethnic cleansing of the protestant population of Derry nor did he murder policemen in front of their families outside churches, he also didn’t tie a father into his van and blow him and five soldiers to smithereens at Coshquin, he didn’t manipulate rioting mobs to burn down the town centre every time an Apprentice Boy walked around the Diamond no he didn’t do any of that.

    What did he do? Well he got elected MP in 1983 (yes he took his seat but funny enough he never asked to be a minister of the Crown in Stormont like another Derryman I could mention) and from that time forward a renaissance in Derry’s fortunes occurred as anyone who remembers the shitehole it was can confirm. The security barriers were taken down, the new shopping Malls, the Richmond and the Foyleside opened up, a new bridge was built, Derry City re-entered senior football, the Tower Museum was built, the roads and streets of Derry saw massive investment, Magee College became a university, new factories like Seagate and Fruit of the Loom came to Derry.

    These are just a few of the things that a Derry teenager like me in the mid 1980’s noticed changing as his town rebuilt itself from ten years of Provo psychopathy which had literally reduced the city to near penury and in which John Hume seemed to be involved at all times behind the scenes as he doorstepped the great and the good in Dublin, London, Brussells and Washington to try to improve the scene in Derry.

    I well recall a Panorama programme in April 1987 which specifically concentrated on the revival of Derry and how much better and more confident the people appeared, the feeling was tangible, and contrasted wildly with the situation then prevailing in other parts of Northern Ireland. Of course the Provos had a lovely way of marking the screening of that programme, they shot a sixty year old Protestant Derry man in the grounds of Magee then booby trapped his body so that two cops were then blown to pieces when they investigated.

    John Hume was not revered by the establishment, they beat him off the streets on many occasions, he never supported the army nor indeed did he support the RUC (many people felt he should have) so if you can please produce one single shred of evidence that John Hume supported the British Army you better do so now.

    Otherwise don’t come out with the bullshite about anti-establishment baloney, the anti-establishment forces of Derry brought us the murder and destruction of Derry and many of its people, so shove your anti-establismentarianism and the touting Brit agents who organised it in Derry up yer arse!

  • Dualta

    Harry Flashman,
    If I was drinking beer it would as sure as hell be all over my monitor, lol. Great post on Hume and Derry.

    In all my travels and political dealings there are no nastier folks that the Derry PRM hacks. You summed them up perfectly.

  • Harry

    You seem to think that those who criticise Hume are necessarily defending the Provos. This is not so.

    The improvement in Derry’s fortunes could just as easily be dated from the election of Margaret Thatcher. It was she who promoted a policy of ‘normalisation’ and her urban renewal schemes, seen all over Britain, also had their effect in Derry.

    Seagate and Fruit of the Loom came quite late and the jobs were insecure. The pay for jobs in Derry was and is quite low and DuPont has stayed because nobody questions their environmental discharges for fear of frightening them away.

    While Hume has had some success no doubt and was probably instrumental in bringing the Foyle Bridge, his achievements overall are not outstanding as far as I can see. The city would have developed anyway regardless of who was MP. It had to like any city, and in Derry’s case more than most because it had been neglected for so long. Perhaps one could say that the impetus for ensuring it developed came from the provo campaign and Thatchers sense of urgency in attempting to calm the natives, more so than from Hume? Who knows. But in terms of achievements of irish nationalist political objectives Hume achieved little until the ‘pan-nationalist front’ was born.

    He supported the army by acquiescing in the face of it, by providing no alternative vision to it and by suggesting that the blame for the way things were rested with the provos and their campaign, much like you are now. There’s nothing wrong in his taking this view, perhaps it was unavoidable given the situation. But what he didn’t do was show a way out or provide an alternative vision of irish nationalism that was simultaneously non-violent but pure. On the contrary, he was prepared to go into a british parliament and take an oath to a british queen. No Irish nationalist would do such a thing.

  • Dualta

    [i]But what he didn’t do was show a way out or provide an alternative vision of irish nationalism that was simultaneously non-violent but pure. On the contrary, he was prepared to go into a british parliament and take an oath to a british queen. No Irish nationalist would do such a thing.
    [/i]

    This has been dealt with decisively in this thread. Hume’s policies on the national question have been adopted by Sinn Fein and they also participate in a British ‘parliament’ at Stormont. The issue of the oath is merely a side-issue.

    It is amazing how Republicans continue to assert that Hume was wrong and they were right all along, in the face of what the current reality is. It is an attempt at revisionism which will fail. The facts speak for themselves.

  • Harry

    The issue of the oath is not a side-issue. It was central to a civil war and it has been a central plank in the policy of subugating the irish, not only throughout the centuries but also throughout the lifetime of stormont (or from the 1940s anyway). If you think that being forced to prostitute your word is of no importance then I would say you are so compromised and lacking in self-possession that you are in no position to lecture.

    The ‘current reality’ is that there is no agreement, no movement on cross-border bodies, no constitutional change. Articles 2 & 3 have been lost. What’s left, in lieu of an agreement with unionism, is defeat, outbreed them or – yet again – fight. No-one knows what is going to happen and certainly I see nothing at all to definitively vindicate Hume’s position at the present. Furthermore I disagree with Hume’s analysis. He says that the problem in n. ireland is because of two different communities. That is not so. Such a sectarian interpretation plays into the hands of unionism and the british but does no justice to the legitimacy of the Irish point of view. Yet again Hume chooses to repeat a mantra that is consistent with the wishes of the status quo, which is couched in language of peace but which is little more than an acceptance of the ‘reality’ of greater british force.

    The jury is still out therefore on who was right. It’s likely that both were right to some degree and both were wrong to some degree.

    To say that the problem of northern ireland is two different communities without pointing out that one of those communities has prevailed precisely through the intervention of an outside power is intellectually dishonest. I don’t see why Hume chose to repeat this mantra at the expense of everything else he could have said. Why he chose not to point out that nationalists too, in principle, had the right to be backed up by the intervention of an outside power. Unfortunately for nationalism, the power it was relying on was Fianna Fail, who cut them adrift and turned their backs on them. The british did not abandon unionism in such a way, for the british have strategic imperatives they were pursuing but which they are eternally reluctant to enlighten us about. They say they ‘no longer have any selfish or strategic interest’ (or somesuch) but I’ve never heard them outline what those strategic interests used to be. I’m all ears, as I’m sure we all are.

  • Liam Gordon

    It is difficult to find a single modern-day policy espoused by SF that wasn’t nicked from Hume. The GFA Agreement was ‘peace-for-slow-learners’. Little different to what was offered in ’74. If the various heroic young gunmen intend on ‘liberating NI’ in the 70’s knew they would be copperfastening partion 20 years later they probably would have jumped off the Criagavon Bridge…mores the pity.

    A quick trawl through the various EU funding bodies turns up about 100M (GBP) ferreted out of Brussels by Hume for Derry. As befited his credit union origins (the Derry Credit Union started with four members and seven quid and now has 14,000 members and 21M), Hume was a builder- the only thing he fought was poverty and injustice.

    It saddens me the airburshing of history by both the SF and DUP: one side assuming Hume’s mantle, pretending they were for democracy all along; the other still convinced that if only the uppity fenians had played nicely and not asked for civil rights then NI would be a lovely place….

  • Liam Gordon

    “The british did not abandon unionism in such a way, for the british have strategic imperatives they were pursuing but which they are eternally reluctant to enlighten us about. They say they ‘no longer have any selfish or strategic interest’ (or some such) but I’ve never heard them outline what those strategic interests used to be.” H

    Have you been made aware of World War I, World War II and the Cold War? Only the terminally dim witted would have difficulty comprehending the geographical importance of the westernmost island in the north Atlantic in those conflicts.

    Did it escape your notice the origin of much of the IRA’s armoury? Why would the Brits leave NI to the tender mercies of an armed faction whose political ideology was a clone of revolutionary socialism (the Green Book circa 1973 is ‘red’ tinged to say the least).

    The end of the Cold War coincides pretty closely with the opening of various back channels of negotiation with the IRA, and the evaporation of NI’s strategic importance. Now they just want rid of us- sadly we are embroiled in a sectarian conflict. Regardless of its origins, we need to sort out this religious division in NI. Blaming it all on the nasty bits might give you a warm fuzzy feeling but doesn’t remove the fact that for the foreseeable future a majority in NI don’t want a UI. Current realties are more relevant that oath-inducing-civil-wars from last millennium.

  • Harry

    Yes I was aware of those things, as I am aware that Operation Motorman used up 20% of Britain’s troop deployment to NATO in Germany when they were shipped back for it and that this was noticed by the Russians, as I am aware of Derry’s importance as the westernmost deep water port in europe, that the 1936 redrawing of the constituency boundaries in Derry – just 3 years before the war – ensured unionist control of that city, that the surrender of the German Atlantic u-boat fleet took place on the Foyle at Lisahally just outside Derry, that the north was strategically important as a forward operating base should the Nazis invade the south and the brits felt compelled to do so too and that there is a transatlantic telephone cable which passes just north of Ballykelly. I am also aware that northern ireland is bang on the main overflight zone between north america and europe, important for NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, that the russian baltic fleet made a game of appearing undetected and by surprise in the North Sea and the North Atlantic throughout the cold war and that northern ireland controls the northern approaches to the western coast of britain and the irish sea.

    I am also aware that britain has recently restructured its military structures to integrate them more closely with american ones and has updated its defence and foreign policy objectives in line with a vision of american hegemony for the next 20-30 years, that the united states will see securing control over the western isles of the eastern atlantic seaboard as a central part of its global strategy, that britain is an integral part of that plan, that the FBI have already dabbled in northern ireland in the form of Rupert with no apparent outcry about this direct intervention and meddling in a new jurisdiction, that northern ireland is still bang in the middle of the air corridor between the north atlantic and europe and that britain’s evolving relationship with europe is far from fixed. How the republic’s closeness to europe and Britain’s diffidence play out, with the interests of america thrown into the mix, is unclear, especially when trying to predict 20 years from now.

    So the jury’s out here too on whether britain still has ‘selfish and strategic interets’ in ireland.

  • Liam Gordon

    I am comaparing your offering at seven o’clock to the previous one at five-ish:
    “…but I’ve never heard them outline what those strategic interests used to be” followed by a long, credible list of those previous strategic interests. Had an epiphany over dinner?

    Were you expecting the Brits in WWI,WWII or during the Cold War, to make a press annoucement as to their strategic interests in NI, outlining placement of forces and uses for NI, so that the enemy could be kept well-informed? Seems like you are playing silly buggers earlier on.

    With the fig-leaf of RoI neutrality vanishing, the shift of the theatre to the ME, and the ability mid-air refueling, air corriders over Ireland are a little over-rated. Current interests seem to involve getting out sharpish, but not leaving a power vacuum behind.

    With SF’s volte-face over the last twenty years (Saul had nothing on these guys) the danger of an unfriendly, quasi-Marxist government in the north is evaporating. And the great legacy of Hume? To destroy the legitmacy of Stormont, create with others the civil rights agenda, help rebuild his city after the IRA biltz, and hold Derry and the MEP place long enough for the teenage gun muppets to grow up, acquire holiday homes and nice suits, and join the adults at the big table.

    Pity it took twenty-five years.

  • Crataegus

    Heck

    Firstly through marriage I am related to people in the Muslim community, in Turkey and Algeria. The ones in Algeria have a tale or two to tell.

    I am of the opinion that the nearer you get to the pacifist line the safer the ground. What interests me is why apparently normal people go out and murder and maim innocent people who they have never met nor have grievance with. How could anyone for example work in a concentration camp? Some think we are born with a genetic disposition towards certain values, some believe we acquire values in our up bringing or a combination of both.

    Some people are genetically able to block and override any controls these people are psychopaths. Many of these find their outlet in business and are very successful others are just dangerous. Psychopaths are fortunately a small percentage of the population so what makes ordinary people do things which are insane?

    I think there are several factors.

    SOCIETY
    1 Within the community and society that an individual comes from there is an acceptance of a particular set of beliefs that sets that group against another.
    2 There is a belief of past wrongs, of being oppressed allied with a belief of their cultural superiority. We have been oppressed but we will win through!
    3 Pier pressure within the group to make individuals conform and comply.
    4 Threats real or implied.
    5 Cultural and ethnic branding to emphasise difference.

    PERSONAL
    1 A past wrong.
    2 A direct or indirect victim of a terrible wrong.
    3 Oppression and sustained abuse.
    4 Fear.
    5 Lack of self esteem.

    I think if you bomb or terrorise someone you radically increase the possibility that they will retaliate in kind. Imagine someone who has been attacked, perhaps lost close friends and who lives in personal fear for their own live and perhaps those of their children. A group of such people are bound to be more unpredictable in response than an unaffected group. Its obvious. Trauma can make responses more extreme.

    In a NI context we all have to realise that there are a lot of people who need a bit of room to sort themselves out and we really do need to stop threatening each other for some have a flash over point that is a lot lower than it should because of the experiences they have been through. I have seen first hand what stress can do to otherwise normal people.

    I am convinced that violence simply creases problems and starts a cycle that is difficult to stop.

    With regards Bush and Blair, they have no excuse. In my opinion they are two of the worst criminals walking this planet. They are perpetrators not victims.

    American foreign policy is seriously askew. Yes they look after American interests in the narrowest sense, but the way they are doing it increases their problems. They are not winning many friends.

    In 20 years time China may be the world’s super power, be worried, be very worried!

  • Harry

    Using that link for the Casement thread I found that Roger casement in ‘The Crime Against Europe’ [1915] talks about the strategic significance of Ireland for britain: (The link is here).

    The vital importance of Ireland to England is
    understood, but never proclaimed by every British statesman. To subdue
    that western and ocean-closing island and to exploit its resources,
    its people and, above all its position, to the sole advantage of the
    eastern island, has been the set aim of every English Government from
    the days of Henry VIII onwards. The vital importance of Ireland to
    Europe is not and has not been understood by any European statesman.
    To them it has not been a European island, a vital and necessary
    element of European development, but an appanage of England, an island
    beyond an island, a mere geographical expression in the titles of the
    conqueror. Louis XIV, came nearest, perhaps, of European rulers to
    realizing its importance in the conflict of European interests when
    he sought to establish James II on its throne as rival to the monarch
    of Great Britain and counterpoise to the British sovereignty in
    the western seas. Montesquieu alone of French writers grasped the
    importance of Ireland in the international affairs of his time, and he
    blames the vacillation of Louis, who failed to put forth his strength,
    to establish James upon the throne of Ireland and thus by a successful
    act of perpetual separation to _affaiblir le voisin_. Napoleon,
    too late, in St. Helena, realized his error: “Had I gone to Ireland
    instead of to Egypt the Empire of England was at an end.”

    With these two utterances of the French writer and of the French ruler
    we begin and end the reference of Ireland to European affairs which
    continental statecraft has up to now emitted, and so far has failed to
    apply.

    …British interests assume that the future of the world shall
    be an English-speaking future. It is clear that sooner or later the
    British colonies, so called, must develop into separate nationalities,
    and that the link of a common crown cannot bind them forever. But, as
    Sir Wilfred Laurier said at the recent Imperial Conference: “We bring
    you British institutions”–English language, English law, English
    trade, English supremacy, in a word–this is the ideal reserved for
    mankind and summed up in words “British interests.”

    Some such argument as this controls the Englishman’s reasoning
    when he faces the growing magnitude of the Teutonic people. A bitter
    resentment, with fear at the bottom, a hurried clanging of bolt and
    rivet in the belt of a new warship and a muffled but most diligent
    hammering at the rivets of an ever building American Alliance–the
    real Dreadnought this, whose keel was laid sixteen years ago and whose
    slow, secret construction has cost the silent swallowing of many a
    cherished British boast.

    The German gateway to a free Atlantic
    can only be kept open through a free Ireland.

    The British Empire is founded not upon the British Bible or the
    British dreadnought but upon Ireland. The empire that began upon an
    island, ravaged, sacked and plundered shall end on an island, “which
    whether it proceed from the very genius of the soil, or the influence
    of the stars, or that Almighty God hath not yet appointed the time of
    her reformation, or that He reserveth her in this unquiet state still
    for some secret scourge which shall by her come unto England, it is
    hard to be known but yet much to be feared.” Thus Edmund Spenser
    340 years ago, whose muse drew profit from an Irish estate (one of
    the first fruits of empire) and who being a poet had imagination
    to perceive that a day of payment must some day be called and that
    the first robbed might be the first to repay. The Empire founded on
    Ireland by Henry and Elizabeth Tudor has expanded into mighty things.
    England deprived of Ireland resumes her natural proportions, those of
    a powerful kingdom. Still possessing Ireland she is always an empire.
    For just as Great Britain bars the gateways of northern and west
    central Europe, to hold up at will the trade and block the ports of
    every coast from the Baltic to the Bay of Biscay, so Ireland stands
    between Britain and the greater seas of the west and blocks for
    her the highways of the ocean. An Ireland strong, independent and
    self-contained, a member of the European family of nations, restored
    to her kindred, would be the surest guarantee for the healthy
    development of European interests in those regions whence they are
    to-day excluded by the anti-European policy of England.