Behind the rhetoric of justification and the next generation

“You could hear the people screaming and crying and moaning. The first thing that caught my eye was a torso of a human being lying in the middle of the street. It was recognisable as a torso because the clothes had been blown off and you could see parts of human anatomy. One victim had his arms and legs blown off and some of his body had been blown through the railings. One of the most horrendous memories for me was seeing a head stuck to a wall. A couple of days later we found vertebrae and a ribcage on the roof of a nearby building. The reason we found it was because the seagulls were diving on to it.”This quote is taken from a thread on El Blogador’s site about the Bloody Friday bombing and it reminded me of a conversation I had with an ex-prisoner. He described how when he was first released he enjoyed the notoriety he had especially among some of the young people of the area he lived in, how he was the great man who had “done the job” and wanting to hear the “stories”. Tales which he had left out detail like the wails of the family as he left the scene or the children who had witnessed the attacks. He then became involved in youth and interface work. He soon noticed how often it was the same youths who had venerated him that he had to get away from interfaces. He then decided “I don’t tell the stories anymore. I was filling a new generation’s head full of shite”.

In our history the gun has come and gone, always to return. If a common goal is to ensure no return to violence how do we instil the future generations with an sufficient abhorrence that they never see it as an option?

  • joeCanuck

    Fair Deal

    Here’s what I did with my two sons and presently do with my grandson.
    Talk talk talk.
    Using the socratic method, investigate the idea of whether or not people are somehow different depending on their religion, race, colour etc.
    I’ve tried to instill the idea that everyone is entitled to their own opinions but all people need to be treated with respect.
    It’s not enough to do it when they are children though; all evidence seems to show that peer influence becomes more important when children move into their teenage years. It’s an ongoing task to make them continue to believe that everyone is entitled to respect and that wrong-doers must be dealt with bu the state authorities.
    Name calling and stone throwing solves nothing.
    I could go on and on but I hope the foregoing gives you an indication of how I think we can deal with the problem

  • And I thought the quote was from yesterday in Beirut…or Haifa…or Baghdad…or…

    It’s a sick, sad world.

  • Greenflag

    ‘how do we instil the future generations with an sufficient abhorrence that they never see it as an option? ‘

    Look around at the world -from Lebanon to Iraq to Congo to wherever and I’m sure many people ask the same question and look in vain for answers as they have always done through history.

    The best you can do as an individual is as Joe Canuck says . The latest sociological evidence appears to be that ‘peer’ pressure wins out over parental influence after age 10 . So regardless of how much good advice parents may give their children it is the society in which these teens have to live is what shapes their attitude to violence/conflict /sectarianism etc etc .

    Part of the solution of respect for every individual is bound up with respect for the State. In short the State must have the respect of the vast majority of the population and I don’t mean 51% or 75% . The State must be built on an overwhelmingly democratic consensus which trancends party political divisions . I don’t believe the NI State ever achieved that level of consensus mainly because of the manner in which it was established. The ‘Authorities’ have now spent 40 years trying to establish that ‘consensus’ and they have not yet succeeded. Personally I doubt if they ever can at this stage.

  • dantheman

    Greenflag,

    Obviously the 6 counties is permanently ludicrous political environment. One where a poster can support a religiously fundamental and hatemongering party like the DUP and still call himself “Fair deal”.

    have you any plans to set up a website regarding repartition?? It would be very interesting to see some facts and figures. It might help you having to repeat the same points over and over again. How would you divide it, at county, council or electoral ward level

    PS. Downpatrick has had its day with the union, make sure its on the sunny side. The other side can have killyleagh!

  • Fanny

    Good for you, Fair Deal, to remind us that violence is detestable and demeaning to those men who engage in it. We should confront those who contemplate engaging in it with similar images and narratives.

    I’ve commented on other threads about the glorification of murder and battle. We should be deeply ashamed of it. Let’s remember the Somme as the futile blood-letting it was; let’s lay our wreaths at cenotaphs and hymn the END of war.

    Let’s NOT carry banners commemorating slaughter like that at the Boyne and Aughrim. I have a feeling that an eyewitness account of the carnage wrought by cannon fire at those battles would resemble the description of Bloody Friday. In both cases murder was done, the former by mercenaries, the latter by “volunteers.”

  • JO MAMA

    maybe carrying banners commemorating the sacrifice that the ten brave hunger strikers made for peace in ireland would be more appropriate? perhaps vigils like this would convince our children that ethnic cleansing, murder and bigotry is wrong and should be defeated. as bobby put it – ‘our revenge will be the laughter of our children’ – it must warm some hearts to hear their children laugh at and celebrate the virtues of sectarian struggle and assassination

  • Greenflag

    ‘the 6 counties is a permanently ludicrous political environment’

    At least so it seems from outside NI.

    ‘One where a poster can support a religiously fundamental and hatemongering party like the DUP and still call himself “Fair deal’.

    To be honest I find Fair Deal’s posts ‘fair’. As a unionist he is at least trying to put forward the case for the union and or fair play as he see’s it. . Not everybody who votes for the DUP is a ‘hatemonger’ Many are just ordinary people not too dissimilar from those who vote SF except in their constitutional preference .

    ‘have you any plans to set up a website regarding repartition?’

    Not at this time . Perhaps post Nov 24th . It would be better if such a ‘website’ were started from within NI by a combined unionist/nationalist team rather than by an outsider . After all it’s the people who are living within the present 6 counties who would be most affected. I’m surprised nobody has yet started one . Maybe it’s an idea whose time is yet to come. From the responses on Slugger I detect a ‘comfort zone’ with the present inertia , that may well continue for another 40 years ? At what ultimate cost to the economic and political future of all the people of NI is another story .

  • Greenflag

    Fanny/JO MAMA .

    Nice words but not very practical . War is part of the human condition and has been since the earliest humans stood upright .
    The best we can hope for is to reduce the urge to war by creating democratic states that function in a manner whereby no individual or group within the State feels excluded by race, religion or culture. A big challenge I know but it is being done and can be done to everyone’s benefit.

    Sometimes we need to accept that a particular State can’t work because of it’s make up/history etc etc . In which case all parties should work towards a replacement that can work and move on.

  • [i]”To be honest I find Fair Deal’s posts ‘fair’. As a unionist he is at least trying to put forward the case for the union and or fair play as he see’s it. . Not everybody who votes for the DUP is a ‘hatemonger’ Many are just ordinary people not too dissimilar from those who vote SF except in their constitutional preference.”[/i]

    Of course, fair deal and other unionists are entitled to fight ther corner and present as favorable a case as they can. BUT…..

    what bothers me is their refusal to take a good, hard look at their own case. Take Fair Deal as an example. He has recently started two threads: one about attacks on Orange Halls and a second highlighting the horrific effects of Bloody Friday.

    But, like just about all British/unionist posters, I have seen little acknowledgement that British/unionist violence was all horrific. And somehow, it bothers me that FD can focus on 242 Orange Halls attacked and totally ignore the 1.064 civilians killed by the security forces and the death squads. Or can focus on Bloody Friday and ignore the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

    When all is said and done, the security forces and the death squads were the terrorists in the Troubles, not the PIRA. When are unionism and HMG going to recognize this fact? When are unionism and HMG going to put the death squads out of business once and for all?

    In short, when are unionists going to clean out their own house instead of demanding nationalists to clean out theirs?

  • Fanny

    Bob, I tend to agree with most of your post. Fair Deal is a member of the Orange Order, so perhaps he’ll address my concern about he and his brethren marching under banners that commemorate (therefore in my book glorify) slaughter.

    This seems to me to sit uneasily with his horror at the results of republican-made slaughter.

  • harpo

    ‘maybe carrying banners commemorating the sacrifice that the ten brave hunger strikers made for peace in ireland would be more appropriate?’

    JO MAMA:

    The hunger strikers were members of organizations that actually carried out the Bloody Friday Friday bombings and many similar attacks.

    Describing these terrorists as brave and making sacrifices ignores the initial fact that they were terrorists who thought nothing of causing exactly what is described in the thread opening post.

    Didn’t you read what the ex-prisoner said – about filling peoples heads with the same old shite? This picture of the hunger-strikers as brave men making sacrifices is exactly that – the same old shite that causes the next generations to do exactly what the generations before them did.

    I’m sure that many of the current day prisoners were inspired by the tales of Bobby Sands and the rest of those clowns who killed themselves. No one ever told them about Bobby bombing a furniture shop. Instead they were raised on stories of glorious freedom fighters who took on the enemy, stories that ignore the dead civilians and heartbroken relatives. Those crap stories are all based on this ‘laughter of our children’ bollocks. That nonsense inspired other IRs to go to places like Warringtom and slaughter British children there.

    If you want to do something, stop thinking of the IR hunger strikers as being brave. They weren’t in jail for having certain political beliefs. They were there because they engaged in terrorism – things like the murder that you describe. Some people need to get their head around that fact, and stop believing the same old shite myths.

  • seanchai

    Bob

    “When all is said and done, the security forces and the death squads were the terrorists in the Troubles, not the PIRA. When are unionism and HMG going to recognize this fact? When are unionism and HMG going to put the death squads out of business once and for all?”

    I don’t thing HMG is going to recognize that it alone was culpable for the Troubles, which is maybe what you are trying to imply? The PIRA were very terrorist in my opinion.

    On topic, Ashutosh Varshney’s book “Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life,” written to analyze the peculiar distribution of communitarian violence in India, posits that deep-level integration between communities – labor unions, sport clubs, etc. – is the most effective way to stop cross-community violence. I’m waiting for someone to take his theory and toolset and apply it to NI’s statistics, or maybe I’ll do it myself one day. All in all, a very interesting and pertinent read.

  • harpo

    ‘The PIRA were very terrorist in my opinion.’

    seanchai:

    Don’t go confusing Bob with facts about the PIRA and their terrorism. Bob works on a strange theory that if one side engages in terrorism, that means that the other side did not engage in terrorism at all, and thus weren’t real terrorists.

    I’m of the opinion that terrorism is terrorism. So that there was terrorism on both sides. And clearly there was.

    Bob however would rather pretend that the actions of loyalist terrorists for example mean that things like the Warrington bombs, La Mon House, Enniskillen, Bloody Friday, the Birmingham pub bombs etc weren’t terrorism.

    But of course they were terrorism. Yet Bob thinks they aren’t ‘real’ terrorism, whatever that means.

  • harpo

    ‘what bothers me is their refusal to take a good, hard look at their own case’

    Bob:

    One could say the same about you. You continully refuse to take a good hard look at what IR terrorists did. Instead when there is any mention of what IR terrorists did, you pop up with your ‘the security forces and the death squads were the terrorists in the Troubles, not the PIRA’ message.

    There has been lots of discussion of loyalist terrorism, on this board and many others. Unionists accept that it was terrorism. Loyalists engaged in lots of terrorism amd murdered lots of civilians. That’s terrorism.

    Noe back to the point. I have yet to see you address cases like that of Bloody Friday. Unionists accept that loyalists engaged in terrorism, so how about you practise what you preach and tell us all about your opinions of incidents like Bloody Friday?

    So far as I have seen you have never ever admitted that the PIRA engaged in terrorism. You offer up endless excuses for what the PIRA and other IR groups did.

    So how about you drop this pretend consern to have unionists face what other unionists did? How about for once you address what IRs did? Or would you prefer to remain in your eternal ‘whatabout the other side’ mode, where you can comfortably rationalise IR terrorist acts?

    Or if you like to think of it as war by the IR groups, how about you address the war crime content of their campaigns? The continual attacks on civilians, the murder of prisoners, the refusal to use uniforms or other identification.

  • loyalulster

    The problem with Greenflags idea is that it is the nationalists who argued for no repartition when they thought they were going to get some kind of demographic victory. Now its clear that the Unionist position is strengthening, demographically speaking,(and incidentally the IRA has been defeated) they want a land grab. The young increasing Unionist population wouldn’t thank us for handing over land. I’m not sure the Unionist community would allow anyone to suggest it. There used to be a website political demography ni I think it was – its not there anymore, discretion being the better part of valour and all that. Having said that I’m sure there is the odd town along the border we could do without, if only to cut the unemployment rate.

  • Turbo Paul

    FD if conflict is relayed to the youth in this way perhaps they may be reluctant to replay these events when they grow up????

    Your quote, as noted by another post, could have been a report from Beruit/Nazareth yesterday, 1972 till today, as a world we have not learnt much about assimilation!!!!

    As the bombs fall the cash registers ring for oil and arms companies, nothing changes.

    Underneath all of this today is the resurgence of religion, be it Neo-fascist Islam, Neo-fascist born again Christians etc.

    The root cause of all evil in society 2006, as then in Ireland 1972 is religion.

    The suicide bomber should turn to his or her leader and say:

    Allah says I think you should wear the explosives belt!!!

    The soldier should turn to his or her leader and say:

    Why don’t you pick up the gun and fight???

    L,Ron Hubbard got it right:
    “Religion, that’s where the money is”

    Today:
    “Religion, that’s where conflict is”

    A good start would be to remove religious schools.

    Children go to school to be educated not indoctrinated.

  • [i]”I don’t thing HMG is going to recognize that it alone was culpable for the Troubles, which is maybe what you are trying to imply? The PIRA were very terrorist in my opinion.”[/i]

    I rather doubt that HMG will admit its responsibility for the terrorism of their security forces and the death squads in NI. THAT, however, does not mean that HMG is not responsible. From the hard evidence that is slowly dribbling out, it is pretty clear that the Security forces provided the death squads with arms, training, intelligence information, cover and immunity on a regular basis. That being true, HMG knowingly allowed its agents to effectively support and sponsor a terrorist campaign. QED

    Now, as far as the PIRA engaging im a terrorist campaign, let it be duly pointed out that civilian casualties are inevitable when armed combat takes place where civilians live, be the areas residential or agricultural. Some of those casualties will be the result of accidents, some of negligence, and some of intent. But, only the last are really terrorism, i.e. deliberate attacks on civilians.

    Now, from the Sutton database:

    the loyalist paramilitaries or death squads killed some 1.020 people, all told [b]of which 873 or 85.6%[/b] were civilians.

    the security forces killed 362 people, [b]of which 191 or 52.6%[/b] or were civilians.

    the PIRA killed 1,706 people, [b]of which 516 or 30.2%[/b] were civilians.

    So, seanchai, tell me just who are the terrorists in NI.

  • Paul

    Loyal Ulster says ‘Having said that I’m sure there is the odd town along the border we could do without, if only to cut the unemployment rate’

    Nice to see that you are only motivated by fiscal prudence L.U.
    That being the case, i’ll draw your attention to another drain on the Treasury-Not the the whole
    ‘ Pravince’ but rather the Shankill area of Belfast where official SSA statistics shows that the most number of social security benefit frauds were perpetrated last year. I’m all for the protestant work ethic but only as long as the loyal sons of Ulster don’t forget to sign-off first….

  • Bob-

    “the loyalist paramilitaries or death squads killed some 1.020 people, all told of which 873 or 85.6% were civilians.

    the security forces killed 362 people, of which 191 or 52.6% or were civilians.

    the PIRA killed 1,706 people, of which 516 or 30.2% were civilians.

    So, seanchai, tell me just who are the terrorists in NI.”

    I’ve no desire to get into a debate about the figures you present, but if you’re going to do so, at least be consistent:

    Why do you refer to ‘loyalist paramilitaries or deathsquads’ and then simply ‘PIRA’? Surely both were deathsquads and paramilitaries, so should you not present them bith thus, rather than differentiating.

    Secondly, why lump all loyalists together, and then compare it with just the IRA? If you’re going to compare like with like, should you not at least break the former into UDA/UFF, UVF, LVF etc. Otherwise, we lose view of the fact that the IRA killed more than anyine else.

    Thirdly, you bring in the percentage of civilians. A killing is a killing.

    Of course, another point we could make is the fact that the PIRA killed more Catholics (the people it purported to be protecting) than any other single organisation, but one shouldn’t qualify deaths- no matter one’s affiliation, the body still fills a coffin.

    Here are the organisational break-downs without qualification:

    British Army (BA) 296
    Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) 113
    Irish Republican Army (IRA) 1707
    Ulster Defence Association (UDA) 112
    Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) 8
    Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF) 147
    Ulster Special Constabulary (USC) 1
    Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) 426

  • harpo

    ‘and some of intent. But, only the last are really terrorism, i.e. deliberate attacks on civilians.’

    Bob:

    Numbers of dead bodies or proportions of dead bodies don’t PROVE anything about the intent of the attackers.

    So could you please provide an analysis of those figures for dead people that PROVES the intent of the attacker in each and every situation.

    You say that only intent to kill civilians is terrorism, so tell us about all of those dead people and the intent of the attacker in each case. Since that is the ONLY way in which we can come to a conclusion as to whether the act was terrorism or not.

    The raw numbers prove nothing. What you need to do is to show us all what the intention of the attackers was in each case where civilians died. Until you do that you don’t know what the true proportions of terrorism in each of those sets of figures is.

    For example, if the security forces didn’t intend to kill civilians in any of those situations where civilians died, they would have no committed no terrorism.

    ie if all 191 of the dead civilians were killed by the security forces as a result of accidents or negligence then there was no terrorism.

    But if the PIRA deliberately attacked civilians on the occasions where those 516 civilians died, then all of those deaths would be as the result of terrorism.

    Thus the actual situation could be (if we take your proportion of deaths method as being reasonable):

    Security forces – zero % terrorism.

    PIRA – 30.2 % terrorism.

    That’s one possible scenario, but we won’t know the actual situation, and we won’t until you analyze the intentions of the attackers in each case that ended up with dead civilians.

    So go to it Bob.

    For a start here’s a freebie. The civilians at La Mon House were killed due to PIRA terrorism, since the PIRA deliberately attacked them.

    You need to do the rest. Numbers of dead civilians or proportions of dead civilians don’t show anything regarding terrorism.

  • harpo

    El Matador:

    Don’t go confusing Bob with facts.

    He would rather stick with his one method of ‘proportions of deaths’ which, despite his claim that we can only conclude on terrorism by the intent of the causer of the death, doesn’t actually address that issue at all.

    All Bob wants to look at is percentage of civilians within overall bodycount. For some reason he presents these numbers over and over again, despite the fact that they indicate nothing about any terrorism involved in producing those deaths.

    Bob contradicts himself every time he posts these alleged theories of his. He presents numbers that have nothing to do with what he claims to be trying to show.

  • Turbo Paul

    Given the awful history of death and destruction in NI, and the current loss of life in Mid East,

    Lets thank our lucky stars the only conflicts in NI seem to be policing, Orange Order/Republican marches, devolving power, criminality etc.

    Why not let the millstones around both sides necks fall to the ground, make conssesions, reach a deal, devolve power, and prove the world wrong, to create a NI worthy for people to aspire to a better life no matter what their beliefs are.

    Old Peter Ustinov said about the cold war, “when a person ask for the salt to be passed in Moscow it is the same as a person asking for the salt in WAashington” people are basically the same world over.
    My opinion of Unionists and Republicans is the same.
    Unionists and Republicans on Slugger say the same things, its only the specifics that are different.

    Take away the rhetoric people are similar in most things, paying the rent, making the dinner, looking after the kids, going to work, or not.

    As the conflict ratchets up in the Middle East, so should the efforts for a lasting peace in NI be ratcheted up.

    That would be an honourable justification for the next generation.

  • JO MAMA

    harpo:

    my apologies

    i am a unionist and agree entirely with what you have said. i guess the dripping sarcasm didn’t translate in written form very well. of course the majority political voice of nationalism would disagree with your view, and would consider the veneration of these men as a way of ‘reaching out’ to, or ‘bridge building’ with unionists and non-nationalists in the spirit of ‘reconciliation’; or as we would see it retrospectively justifying their sectarian campaign of ethnic cleansing to young people unfortunate enough, through their upbringing, to be so intolerant and supportive of the murder of non-nationaists and non-roman catholics to buy into the narrative and barbarism constructed and perpetrated by their political, cultural, social and authoratively omnipotent lead nationalist party.

    i agree that this stuff fills young people’s heads with shite. it does not bode well for the future of this country if even during this uneasy peace that my children may have to work along side a fellow British compatriot who, again due to the misfortune of their upbringing, would support the ethnic cleansing of him/her along with all other non-nationalists, which in their mind would be justified – as we know that st. bobby et al died to decriminalise murder in the name of an ideology – the struggle – which merits the slaughter of the innocent, does not require a democratic mandate, as is so supreme and blinkered that it must be held, by its subscribers, above all rights, freedoms, aspirations, ideologies and even lives of those who may be foolish enough to disagree.

    best wishes,

    JO MAMA

  • tra g

    Jo,
    Unfortunately the old ‘dripping sarcasm’ in your first post appeared to have sailed some significant distance above the bould Harpo’s head.

    Your subsequent post appears to have unintentially rubbed further salt into the wounds and guaranteed the poor fellah a sleepless night.

    If it’s any consolation to him, thank God youse are on the same side.

  • binlid

    Jo mama,

    I think the second post reads better with a tone of ‘dripping sarcasm’.

  • [i]”Why do you refer to ‘loyalist paramilitaries or deathsquads’ and then simply ‘PIRA’? Surely both were deathsquads and paramilitaries, so should you not present them bith thus, rather than differentiating.

    Secondly, why lump all loyalists together, and then compare it with just the IRA? If you’re going to compare like with like, should you not at least break the former into UDA/UFF, UVF, LVF etc. Otherwise, we lose view of the fact that the IRA killed more than anyine else.”[/i]

    But I did explain why:

    [b]”From the hard evidence that is slowly dribbling out, it is pretty clear that the Security forces provided the death squads with arms, training, intelligence information, cover and immunity on a regular basis. That being true, HMG knowingly allowed its agents to effectively support and sponsor a terrorist campaign. QED”.[/b]

    Simple, isn’t it?

    [i]”Thirdly, you bring in the percentage of civilians. A killing is a killing.”[/i]

    Nope, got it wrong there. Some killings are just that, killings. Some are homicides where negligence is involved. And some are murder. Now, when a soldier kills a combatant in battle, that’s a killing. But, when a soldier deliberatly kills a non-combatant, that’s murder.

    So, there is a BIG difference and that difference must be recognized.

    [i]”Of course, another point we could make is the fact that the PIRA killed more Catholics (the people it purported to be protecting) than any other single organisation”[/i]

    Glad you brought that up because the breakdown of the figures shows some clear logical nonsense:

    So, the PIRA killed 341 Catholics, but when we break this down, 168 were civilians, 43 were members of the security forces and 140 were republican paramilitaires. And the PIRA was trying to protect Catholic civilians. They were trying to protect those civilians from the soldiers and cops HMG set loose on them. And they killed some 140 repblican paramilitaries, some in feuds with other republican groups and some of their own people — either by accident or to enforce discipline and/or purge traitors.

    So your comment is really sort of meaningless clap-trap when we take a good, hard look at it, itsn’t it?

    On the other hard, the Army killed 162 Catholic civilians and their allies, the loyalist paramilitaries, killed 686 for a grand total of 848 Catholic civilians.

  • Interesting

    Harpo
    So why did the PIRA kill civilians at all when their supposed targets were easily identifiable police and soldiers, easily identifiable as in:
    a) they wear uniforms.
    b) they were stationed in barracks/police stations, the addresses of which are found in the phone book.

    Also, The “legitimate targets” as defined by the PIRA did not use civilians as some sort of human shield, either through free-will, coercion or intimidation.

    It’s a rhetorical question an answer is not required.

  • Prince Eoghan

    “So your comment is really sort of meaningless clap-trap when we take a good, hard look at it, itsn’t it?”

    Bob, El Mat couldn’t take on your analysis that the real terrorists were the British state and it’s legal and illegal militia’s. So he had to resort to nonsense to illustrate his dislike of Republicans. The Republican movement was certainly culpable of many murders and atrocities, these however pale in comparison with state forces. It is only when the blanket “terrorist” accusation is thrown regarding the struggle, that it is useful to be reminded just terrorised as a matter of state policy. Of course the dead, killed by whomever would not comfort in any of this.

    Although you are quite correct regarding FD’s not so subtle one-eyed approach, there is a worthwhile message in there about the young. Maybe we can show the way FD, by sponsoring inclusive politics, banning divisive marches everywhere and getting the assembly on the road. This is the only sure way of denying oxygen to those who seek to use violence to further their aims.

  • Greenflag

    Turbo Paul’

    ‘Old Peter Ustinov said about the cold war, “when a person ask for the salt to be passed in Moscow it is the same as a person asking for the salt in Washington” people are basically the same world over. ‘

    And Peter Ustinov (the famous Englishman without a drop of English blood 🙂 could have added that the same applies to rubbing salt in the wounds be it Bloody Sunday or Bloody Friday be it Michael McIlveen or Mary Wilson.

    ‘My opinion of Unionists and Republicans is the same. Unionists and Republicans on Slugger say the same things, its only the specifics that are different. ‘

    True . The trees in the forest don’t see the wood.

    ‘L,Ron Hubbard got it right:

    “Religion, that’s where the money is”

    No doubt. And that’s where the votes are too at least in some parts of the world .

    Turn the clock back almost 50 years in the USA and look in on a Presidential election where one of the candidates hoped that ‘religion’ would not play any role in the campaign . JFK eventually won the Presidency over the opposition of those same ‘conservatives’ who believed that an RC President would immediately turn the USA into a department of the Vatican .

    Today in the USA in order to become President you first have to corner the ‘Jesus ‘ market .

    Thus have Americans ended up with the born again Bush . Easily one of the most divisive politicians to have been elected to the USA Presidency .

    Americans will see through Bush soon enough . It could only be a good thing if people in NI saw through the empty promises of their false ‘prophets’ even sooner.

  • Comrade Stalin

    When all is said and done, the security forces and the death squads were the terrorists in the Troubles, not the PIRA. When are unionism and HMG going to recognize this fact? When are unionism and HMG going to put the death squads out of business once and for all?

    For a start I don’t agree at all with your assault on fair_deal. I don’t agree with him much of the time but he argues his position reasonably and rationally.

    Your contribution is characteristic of the problems that we have. You’ve pointed out that people here lack critical introspection, but ironically you seemed to be denying that nationalists and republicans require critical introspection in the same way that unionists do.

    For our problems here to be solved nationalists and unionists both must recognize that they have committed great wrongs, or stood aside and said nothing while others committed those wrongs.

    the security forces killed 362 people, of which 191 or 52.6% or were civilians.

    the PIRA killed 1,706 people, of which 516 or 30.2% were civilians.

    Bob, how did you define “civilian” ? I have another index of the deaths which agrees on the security forces count, but claims that the IRA killed around 1000 civilians.

  • Comrade Stalin

    And the PIRA was trying to protect Catholic civilians. They were trying to protect those civilians from the soldiers and cops HMG set loose on them.

    Bob,

    Can you explain to me how blowing up shopping centres and busy city districts where lots of civilians are known to be present is a defensive strategy ? The original thread is about Bloody Friday. Can you run past me how planting a bomb in a bus station (a civilian building) either targets the security forces, or avoids civilian deaths, or “defends” anyone ?

    I suppose you probably think the 9/11 hijackers were defending Saudi Arabia.

    Prince EoghanL

    The Republican movement was certainly culpable of many murders and atrocities, these however pale in comparison with state forces.

    According to Bob’s own slanted statistics, republicans killed about five times as many people as the security forces did, or almost double the combined total of people killed by the security forces and the loyalists. I think you mean that the murders by the security forces and loyalists pale into comparison when compared with the IRA’s own talent for blood letting.

  • Prince Eoghan

    “I think you mean that the murders by the security forces and loyalists pale into comparison when compared with the IRA’s own talent for blood letting.”

    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Jul 23, 2006 @ 12:36 PM

    No CS. Quite happy with what I said in the first place thanks. The Republican movements talents were wide and varied. Certainly blood-letting was one of them, mostly but not always in the context of the war forced on them by state forces in and out of uniform.

    “According to Bob’s own slanted statistics”

    Bob is nothing if not meticulous, and has taken on all comers on this issue. Why are you so sure that his statistics are slanted?

    Anyway Tovarich steel shouldn’t you be putting some pressure on your successor to try and stop the blood-letting in the middle east.

  • Comrade Stalin

    mostly but not always in the context of the war forced on them by state forces in and out of uniform.

    The IRA were an unelected fringe organization and they had no moral or legal right to murder large numbers of people, mostly civilians.

    Anyway, considering you obviously think the war was justified, what changed in 1994 ? The conditions behind the conflict certainly didn’t.

    Bob is nothing if not meticulous, and has taken on all comers on this issue. Why are you so sure that his statistics are slanted?

    Bob’s numbers almost certainly come from the Sutton index, which is slanted in it’s definition of “civilian” which I believe includes IRA combatants. Faye, Smith and Morrissey’s index is more balanced. But even if we don’t agree on which sets of death statistics are accurate, we have to agree that there are no clear statistics which justify the war one way or another.

    Anyway Tovarich steel shouldn’t you be putting some pressure on your successor to try and stop the blood-letting in the middle east.

    You can call me “Vozhd”. I was never successful in persuading Lebanon to sign the Warsaw Pact..

  • harpo

    ‘So why did the PIRA kill civilians at all when their supposed targets were easily identifiable police and soldiers, easily identifiable as in:
    a) they wear uniforms.
    b) they were stationed in barracks/police stations, the addresses of which are found in the phone book.’

    Interesting:

    Very valid questions indeed, and the sorts of questions that people like poster Bob would rather bury under meaningless numbers.

    It is of course very valid to ask these questions in the case of PIRA attacks like that on La Mon House. IRs and their supporters would rather ignore the details of attacks like that and simply say ‘there was a war on and some civilians were caught up in it’ but that ignores incidents like La Mon House, where the PIRA deliberately attacked a civilian target, full of (guess what) civilians.

    They even tried to give a warning, which proves that they knew they were not attacking a military target. If you are at war you don’t have to give warnings to military targets.

    Given that NI was covered with police and army bases, and there were lots of patrols by uniformed police and army personnel in easy to spot vehicles, one has to wonder why the PIRA felt the need to attack places like La Mon House. The answer of course is pure terrorism – they wanted to kill civilians in order to terrorize all civilans.

    If they had really been interested in freedom fighting, they would have gone to somwhere like RUC HQ that night, and attacked it, or attacked a British Army patrol. But no, the PIRA cowards who carried out that attack decided to deliberately attack a hotel full of civilians. That’s terrorism, or if you believe yourself to be at war, war crime.

    Such attacks were common. Even leading terrorist icon skinny Bobby Sands engaged in such acts. He wasn’t capatured after an attack on a military target. Rather, he had just bombed a furniture store, another civilian object. That attack was terrorism, or if you claim to be at war, war crime.

    Such was the PIRA campaign. Lots of terrorism in among attacks on military targets.

  • Eoghan-

    “Bob, El Mat couldn’t take on your analysis that the real terrorists were the British state and it’s legal and illegal militia’s. So he had to resort to nonsense to illustrate his dislike of Republicans.”

    Well done. Go to the top of the class. If you can’t understand someone’s argument, attack them personally. If you’d bothered to read my post, you will see that I had no wish to get involved in the rights and wrongs of killing- my issue was with the gross qualification and bias in Bob’s ‘analysis’ e.g. referring to ‘loyalist deathsquads’ but then simply the ‘PIRA’, apart from the fact that he lumped the former together, whilst keeping the latter as a separate organisation.

    Secondly, what exactly do you mean by saying that I dislike Republicans? I am a Republican- do I dislike myself? Have I ever showed any dislike of anyone because they oppose the concept of monarchy? I think not. If, however, you mean I dislike the ‘policies’ of the IRA, then you are quite correct. But then the IRA does not have the monopoly on ownership of the term ‘Republcian’, and actually many would contend that they don’t even have the right to use it. But that’s a different matter.

    That’s all I have to say on the matter- I’ve no wish to cause obesity by feeding the trolls too much.

  • [i]”Can you explain to me how blowing up shopping centres and busy city districts where lots of civilians are known to be present is a defensive strategy ? The original thread is about Bloody Friday. Can you run past me how planting a bomb in a bus station (a civilian building) either targets the security forces, or avoids civilian deaths, or “defends” anyone ?”[/i]

    Don’t have to because I never said anything about it. But, FYI, that horrific bombing campaign which you love to cite, killed 75 Protestant civilians, according to Sutton.

    Now, it’s your turn. Please explain to me why the British armed, trained, etc. the death squads and turned them loose on the Catholic population of NI, not the nationalist or republican population, but the Catholic population.

    The death squads committed 715 sectarian killings, according to Sutton, but killed only 686 Catholic civilians. Looks like the other 29 were Protestants they killed by mistake, i.e. they thought they were Catholics.

    [i]”Bob’s numbers almost certainly come from the Sutton index, which is slanted in it’s definition of “civilian” which I believe includes IRA combatants. Faye, Smith and Morrissey’s index is more balanced.”[/i]

    Hmmmm….Actually, Sutton counts 737 civilians killed by republican groups. Faye, etc. count 713 civilians and 23 “Others” for a total of 736. Now, just who are these others. El Matador seems to think that others mean IRA combatants but provides no evidence as to why anyone should accept his belief as fact.

    The same holds true, it seems, for the death squads, i.e. Sutton claims 873 civilians while Faye, etc. claim 858 civilians and 14 Others for a total of 872.

    But, the picture for the security forces is quite different. Sutton claims 191 civilians while Faye, etc claim 208(168 by the Army, 9 by the UDR and 31 by the RUC) and 4 “Others”.

    Methinks we have a quibbler’s quibble here, i.e. the differences don’t affect the thrust of the argument or the conclusions to be drawn from the facts presented.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Don’t have to because I never said anything about it.

    You’re caught out Bob, and now you’re trying to weasel your way out of it. Here’s what you said :

    When all is said and done, the security forces and the death squads were the terrorists in the Troubles, not the PIRA.

    You defined “terrorism” : ..only the last are really terrorism, i.e. deliberate attacks on civilians.

    But, FYI, that horrific bombing campaign which you love to cite, killed 75 Protestant civilians, according to Sutton.

    29 died at Omagh, 14 died on the Shankill. That’s only two bombings out of hundreds which occurred over the 30-year period. I’m definitely having serious difficulty with your numbers.

    Now, it’s your turn. Please explain to me why the British armed, trained, etc. the death squads and turned them loose on the Catholic population of NI, not the nationalist or republican population, but the Catholic population.

    Why are you asking me that ? I’d be very disappointed if I thought you’d formed a prejudiced picture of my political views based on my disagreement with your justification of the IRA. Is that what you’ve done ?

    I’ve not justified any violence used by anyone. You have. That is the difference between you and me, Bob. You’re an apologist for terrorism. I’m not.

    So, seanchai, tell me just who are the terrorists in NI.

    Anyone who killed lots of civilians. That includes republicans.

  • Bob-

    “El Matador seems to think that others mean IRA combatants but provides no evidence as to why anyone should accept his belief as fact.”

    I’m sorry, but what the hell are you talking about? Don’t put words in my mouth.

  • Comrade Stalin tells us:

    [i]”I’ve not justified any violence used by anyone. You have. That is the difference between you and me, Bob. You’re an apologist for terrorism. I’m not.”[/i]

    Sorry, CS, but you’re telling porkies here. I have made no attempt to justify any violence. All I have done is point out that PIRA terrorism is pretty small potatoes compared to the terror campaign mounted by HMG through its agents and hired mercenaries. Too bad you can’t accept that fact since the figures are very clear.

  • [i]”I’m sorry, but what the hell are you talking about? Don’t put words in my mouth.”[/i]

    My apologies, Matador, but I got your posts and Comrade Stalin’s posts crosssed up. The comment SHOULD read:

    [b][i]”Comrade Stalin seems to think that others mean IRA combatants but provides no evidence as to why anyone should accept his belief as fact.”[/b][/i]

    I think I had some decaffeinated coffee instead of the high test this morning.

  • harpo

    ‘All I have done is point out that PIRA terrorism is pretty small potatoes compared to the terror campaign mounted by HMG through its agents and hired mercenaries.’

    Bob:

    You keep on sying this, but you refuse to prove it by the standard that you have set yourself.

    You need to demonstrate the intent of the attackers with respect to those dead civilians.

    As you say yourself, numbers of dead civilians mean nothing by themselves, since the civilians could have been killed by mistake or accident. Just because a civilian ends up dead it doesn’t mean that they died due to terrorism. Isn’t that your usual point?

    So give us this analysis to back up your claim. If you can’t, then you are just quoting numbers that prove nothing. And based on them you can’t conclude anything about, for example, the amount of terrorism involved in the numbers of dead Catholics that you mention.

    Isn’t your point that you can’t conclude anything about the intent of a loyalist gunman who ended up killing a civilian, just because a civilian died at his hands? Don’t you point out that he could have been shooting at a PIRA man, and missed? Or that he may have deliberately shot at the civilian but was under the impression that the civilian was a PIRA man? In both of those cases you have said in the past that there would be no intent there to target civilians, and that these sorts of things are just the fortunes of war.

    So let’s see this analysis of all of the killings of civilians that shows the amount of terrorism involved in those bodycounts of dead civilians. I’m still waiting for it, years after having first asked you for it.

  • harpo

    ‘Methinks we have a quibbler’s quibble here, i.e. the differences don’t affect the thrust of the argument or the conclusions to be drawn from the facts presented.’

    Bob:

    You haven’t presented ANY facts that back up your claims.

    You just keep prattling on about numbers of dead civilians. Those numbers don’t prove anything about what you claim is the important issue – the intent of the killers of civilians.

    Why do you continue with this lie that the numbers that you post prove your claims, when they have nothing to do with what you claim? Numbers of dead civilians prove nothing about whether they died due to terrorism or not.

    You draw your conclusions from numbers that have nothing to do with the issue. That’s dishonest, but typical of you.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Interesting seems Bob has admitted the PIRA were terrorists ‘All I have done is point out that PIRA terrorism…….’

    So he admits the PIRA were terrorists, goodness gracious what a revelation after 30 odd years……….but there weren’t really bad terrorists they only killed 1700+ human beings in pursuit of a campaign that achieved absolutely nothing apart from accepting the legitimacy of NI and its right to remain in the UK while a majority wish it.

    Are there republicans who really believe the 1700+ (3000+ in total)human lives really worth that?

  • [i]”So he admits the PIRA were terrorists, goodness gracious what a revelation after 30 odd years”[/i]

    Actually, I really did not say that they were. That’s harpo’s spin. Take it up with him.

    But, no matter whether the PIRA were or were not terrorists, it is clear that HMG, the Army, the RUC and their death squads WERE and ARE terrorists to this day.

    So, Democrat come back and complain when you have cleaned your own house. Any complaints you make before that are pure hypocrisy.

  • marty

    FFS, this is the third thread I’ve visited in an hour in which repartition has been brought up at length.

    And if that wasn’t bad enough, good old Bob McGowan is back with his frickin’ Sutton DB.

    Can we stick to the thread?!

  • Fanny

    No 😉

  • harpo

    ‘ “So he admits the PIRA were terrorists, goodness gracious what a revelation after 30 odd years”

    Actually, I really did not say that they were. That’s harpo’s spin. Take it up with him.’

    FD and Bob:

    FD – I’m not putting any spin on what Bob has posted. He posted this:

    ’All I have done is point out that PIRA terrorism is pretty small…’

    How can there have been no PIRA terrorism if it is ‘pretty small’? For something to be pretty small it has to at least exist. He has clearly admitted that the PIRA were terrorists.

    Despite his claims that you have to show the intent of the killer in order to decide if they engaged in terrorism or not, he doesn’t do this and instead decides that the terrorism of one group is worse than the terrorism of another group, based solely on the number of dead civilians that they produced. But his comparison means that the PIRA did engage in terrorism, if he can compare it to that of another group.

    So ‘dead civilians’ is his real working indicator of terrorism. Now in an earlier post he said this:

    ‘But, FYI, that horrific bombing campaign which you love to cite, killed 75 Protestant civilians, according to Sutton.’

    So under his definition that ‘if you produce dead civilians that’s terrorism’, he has admitted here that the PIRA did engage in terrorism.

    Bob is all mixed up. He makes one claim and then contradicts it when arriving at his flawed conclusions.

    If you use the numbers he presents against the PIRA, he claims that numbers of dead civilians don’t prove that the PIRA engaged in terrorism – the intent of PIRA attackers has to be taken into account before you can do that.

    However, he doesn’t apply the same theory when it comes to loyalists or the security forces. In those cases he simply takes the numbers of dead civilians to arrive at his conclusion, with none of his usual requests that the intent of the attacker be considered before calling it terrorism.

    Bob is a simple supporter of PIRA terrorism. He will claim that you can’t call their violence that, but he then ignores his own advice when condemning loyalists and the security forces as being terrorists.

    He also avoids addressing my posts that highlight his inconsistencies. He’d rather just prattle on about the same old numbers that have nothing to do with his claims in his ‘conclusions’.

    Even IRs can admit that the PIRA engged in terrorism. Several have done so on this thread. But Bob remains convinced that only he is right, and the rest of the world is wrong if they dare challenge him.

  • Seems harpo is now spinning like a top.

    But, he carefully ignores one piece of evidence from the Sutton database, i.e. those 715 sectarian killings by the loyalist paramilitaries — the death squads — for which Sutton claims the “sole or primary motivation was the relgious belief of the victim.”

    That’s terrorism without a doubt and it condemns the death squads AND the Army and RUC who provided them with the means and HMG who was aware of but ignored the actions of its agents.

  • harpo

    ‘Seems harpo is now spinning like a top.’

    Bob:

    How so?

    I was asking questions regarding your methodology.

    As usual you now produce some evidence to pin on loyalists, so how does that impact your analysis? Let’s assume that Sutton’s claim is correct. Now that you know the number of dead civilians who were killed by loyalists as a result of their religion – the terrorism content of the total number of dead civilians killed by the loyalists – what is the impact in terms of your percentages?

    And do you have similar numbers for the security forces and the PIRA, so that we can compare the three sets of numbers?

    Or are you going to continue to use the raw numbers, that have not been adjusted to eliminate non-terrorist civilian deaths?

  • harpo

    ‘i.e. those 715 sectarian killings by the loyalist paramilitaries’

    Bob:

    Your numbers don’t make sense.

    Are you claiming that Sutton says that every Catholic civilian killed by the loyalists (all 686 of them) was killed on purpose as a sectarian act?

    Are you saying that there wasn’t even one killing where there was a mistake, or it was an accident? Not even one?

    That’s the implication of your analysis of the number of 715 sectarian killings by loyalists. You take the 686 dead Catholic civilians, assume that they were all killed for sectarian reasons, and then explain the other 29 as Protestants who loyalists took to be Catholics.

    Please explain your theory, in light of several well documented cases where loyalists ended up killing Catholic civilians but were obviously targeting IR combatants. Don’t they fall into your ‘mistakes’ category that you wheel out at every chance to excuse PIRA killings of civilians?

  • I see harpo is no longer spinning. He’s actual;ly running around in circles.

    Sutton cleearly attributes the killings of 686 Catholic civilians to the death squads.

    Sutton clearly attribits 713 sectarian killings to those same death squads. The title is “Deliberate killing of Catholic civilians”