Why Loyalists need to take the risk and talk…

There’s an interesting segment in today’s Marian Finucane (1.05.35 in) where she talks to Gary Mitchell about his prospective role in writing the screenplay for a film about Ian Paisley. Fascinating stuff, not least in the way he touches on the paranoia of paramilitaries of within Loyalist areas. He also talks about why it is important that Protestants learn to get over a distrust of the media and other cultural institutions to tell the story of their own lives:

“If we don’t tell people how we feel and what our perspective, how can people print it. This has been going on for thirty or forty years where journalists would come from all over the world to places like Rathcoole looking for a story. Now, my understanding is that they have to take some sort of story home, and if you have hundreds of nationalist Catholics giving them a full story of the horrors of life in Northern Ireland they are going to go away and print that. On the other side, you have people putting up road blocks and saying ‘we’re not talking to you’ and actually ending up attacking journalists and attacking people who wish to report things, then what story are they going to print? They are obviously going to print something that isn’t very positive.”

Finnucane’s seemingly throwaway endline made an interesting addendum to a fascinating talk. Refering to Paisley she remarks: “You can’t get away from the fact that he’s a dreadful bigot”… followed by one of her panel with, “He’s the single biggest negative on the Northern Ireland scene for thirty years…” Mitchell’s thesis proved, it would seem, in one fell swoop.

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  • observer

    “You can’t get away from the fact that he’s a dreadful bigot”… followed by one of her panel with, ”He’s the single biggest negative on the Northern Ireland scene for thirty years…” –

    good to see catholic bigotry is alive and well – no mention of the bloodbath her fellow catholics carried out here for over a generation, all neatly swept under the carpet.

  • [text removed – try taking the post seriously, if not other commenters – moderator]

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    That may or may not be obs.

    But Mitchell’s point is that where you refuse to communicate your own story, your opponent’s stories predominate.

    QED: several commonplace assertions are made without any of the (at least partially distinguished) panel challenging it on what is one of RTE 1’s top radio talk shows.

  • To get to this point has been a painful journey for all concerned.

    The DUP should engage with all the parties including Sinn Fein and reach a compromise.

    Otherwise the dissolution/plan B should commence and the cards fall where they may.

    There will be blood on the carpet Monday/Tuesday wonder who’s???????????????

    [This post has nothing to do with the topic in hand. Perhaps you meant to attach it to another? – moderator]

  • observer

    its ridiculous and disgusting to say paisley was the single biggest negative on the Northern Ireland scene for thirty years, when during that time we had Martin Mcguiness murdering people as an IRA commander and Adams ordering such atrocities as Bloody Friday and the kidnapping of Jean McConville

  • The Dubliner

    Mick, it’s interesting that two people on a radio show can he held to ‘prove’ a loyalist sense of grievance, but not even a report by Police Ombudsman can be held to prove the veracity and authenticity of a nationalist sense of grievance. Yet the story of loyalist lives is contained in that report: puppets of a pro-British system that is designed to maintain the sectarian statelet for unionism.

    A similar flaw of analysis exists in article from Johann Hari that you posted earlier: he thinks that that the sectarianism in the state isn’t in-built into the state and, ergo, won’t remain until the fundamental cause of that sectarianism is removed i.e. the state itself. According to his liberal incomprehension of the actual dynamic, the fundamental problem of sectarianism is more fundamental that one of its manifestations: let the catholic kids go to school with the protestant kids and things will be alright when they grow up!

    He is fundamentally wrong: the state was created with the specific sectarian purpose of promoting the sectarian interests of one sect over another. Sectarianism is the real “poisonous foundations of the process” (to use Peter Preston’s term) and that is the poisonous foundations of the NI statelet itself.

  • The Dubliner

    Correction: …of sectarianism is *no* more fundamental that…

  • wild turkey

    Observer

    ”He’s the single biggest negative on the Northern Ireland scene for thirty years…” –

    If I understand you correctly,

    1. the repeated, repeated use of words like NEVER, NO is not negative? perhaps you can give us all a lesson in your peculiar sense of grammar.

    ‘good to see catholic bigotry is alive and well – no mention of the bloodbath her fellow catholics carried out here for over a generation, all neatly swept under the carpet.’

    2. Get real. Why don’t you and the boys during the German EU presidency (with a £1ml pay-off, sorry subvention from the british govt) book a conference in Wanesse to discuss and examine bloodbaths? If the standards of accomodation are not up to the expected standard , you can always borrow carpets a few from Kincora.

    and you wanna talk about bloodbaths?

  • Mick Fealty

    TD,

    At risk of over labouring a fairly simple point, Mitchell’s thesis targets the people who refuse to talk, not the people who don’t hear ‘the untold story’. There is very little sense of grievance in the whole interview, that I can hear.

  • Medja

    “You can’t get away from the fact that he’s a dreadful bigot”… followed by one of her panel with,”He’s the single biggest negative on the Northern Ireland scene for thirty years…” –

    Observer please don’t base your opinions on Marian Finucane and her panel. It’s a terrible show and she’s becoming less and less logical as the weeks go by.

    Last week they laughed at the Irish Cricket team and said that they were the England B side. Loads of calls of complaint came in.

    I’d love to say that she has an agenda but she just doesn’t think about what’s she’s going to say before she says it.

  • hotdogx

    paisley is a dinosaur and those who voted for him did so out of desperation. What good has this guy ever brought to Ireland, division sectarianism help stir up tension and fear of a UI that it would be a cold house for unionists. unioism seems to be all about fear. Insulting the pope in eu parlement , and this muppet is to represent NI, what a joke,personally i think hell share the same corner of hell as hitler stalin & co

    Can someone please tell me why they voted for this guy and what good he has ever done,

  • terry dactyl

    If only evil Adams and McGuinness hadnt started the troubles bombing O Neill out of office and making the civil rights terrorists foist their outrageous demands on the fair and balanced people of Rhodesia… I mean, Ulster ahem.

    How dare anyone call Doctor Paisley a bigot – the man has done more for interfaith unity and understanding than any other living person on this island except perhaps Daniel O Donnell.

    sarcasm aside though, [text removed – play the ball please!! – moderator]

  • observer

    If only evil Adams and McGuinness hadnt started the troubles bombing O Neill out of office and making the civil rights terrorists foist their outrageous demands on the fair and balanced people of Rhodesia… I mean, Ulster ahem.-

    funny ., i thought the provos want brits out, and a socialist republic? or where they defending catholics? or was it about civil rights ? or really about killing as many prods as possible so theyd go like sheep into a pedophile priest/RC controlled catholic state?

  • hotdogx

    obviously observer you are having difficulty thinking of any good paisley, -didn’t he buy his doctorate,,,,

    A cornered man can only fight back with what he has so stop trying to find ammunition by insulting the rep which is an outstanding success for protestant &catholic unlike NI.Im not saying sf/ira were better they were just as bad!

  • “Gary Mitchell about his prospective role in writing the screenplay for a film about Ian Paisley” Why would anyone want to interview someone about something that might happen. I suggest that Gary Mitchell is demonstrating how the media can be used at an opportune time. He picks the time when the world and her Granny are all interested in Northern Irish politics. This also coincides with the Belfast Film Festival and I believe takes away from it slightly.His latest play I believe was Remnants of Fear at the Doublejoint theatre I haven’t read very many good reviews for it. I also noticed that Doublejoint have lost out on funding.I wish interviewers would ask him some different questions sometime. Maybe you could ask him on your blog radio Mick.

  • circles

    right on observer!!
    – There was no civil rights issue ever in Ulster – it was that nasty papist Adams funded by a paedophile ring of altar boys what done the lot.
    – Paisley is the Ulster Gandhi.
    – “No” is Ulster-Scots for “i love you my misled catholic brethren”.
    – And if you don’t buy any of this you’re a catholic bigot like that dreadful finucane lady.

    One of those four points wa a big fat lie observer – can YOU tell which one it is?

  • The Dubliner

    Mick, it that was his “thesis” when how is it ‘proved’ by a radio presenter her and her pannalist’s description of Paisley as “a dreadful bigot”? It isn’t Paisley who either doesn’t speak to the media or isn’t asked to speak by the media, is it?

    Gary Mitchell was referring to the reluctance of loyalists to speak to the media about their activities, arguing that their reluctance led to their perspective on those activities being replaced by the perspectives of others, as if, somehow, loyalists would not be seen as murderers, drug-pushers, and violent enforcers of unionism (despite being murderers, drug-pushers, and violent enforcers of unionism) if they engaged in the propaganda via the media of describing their activities as being other than that which they transparently are.

    Does he really think that murder of defenceless and peaceful civilians, selected for the slaughter by their religion, would be seen as legitimate – even civilised and decent – were the scum who engaged in the activity to speak to the media about their love of Ulster and defence of, combined with some carefully crafted PR about ‘regret’ and ‘hurt’ and how they wish to ‘move on’?

    No doubt the media would willingly whitewash loyalist activities if they were forced by some quota to focus on them instead of simply ignoring them, preferring to put the focus of moral indignation upon nationalists and to present the vile sectarian murder campaign that unionists/loyalists engaged in for the purpose of maintaining their sectarian statelet as being merely necessary ‘retaliation’ for nationalist ambitions of non-sectarian reunification. We all know that loyalists were used by unionists who deemed their violence to be politically expedient. Did someone miss the fact that 473,000 unionists signed the Ulster Covenant pledging to use violence for sectarian purposes in defiance of the will of democratic and constitutional government? Did someone miss that unionism formed the UVF for this specific purpose? Did someone miss that Paisley pulled the same trick 70 years later at another time of constitutional crisis for unionism (the Anglo Irish Agreement in 1986) by forming the terrorist group Ulster Resistance for the same purpose that Carson had earlier formed the UVF? It wasn’t missed by the then Chief Constable who publicly criticised unionist politicians for being too close to loyalists. The arms that the organisation that Paisley founded imported were used by loyalists to murder Catholics from 1987 onwards.

    This is why the media doesn’t wish loyalists to explain themselves: they don’t want them to tell how there murder campaign was strongly influenced by unionist politicians or how it was used to make sure those unionists got to keep their sectarian statelet by the same violent means by which they founded it. It is violence and the threat of violence (particularly the threat of the general slaughter of the catholic population by unionists) that keeps the sectarian statelet in existence. A government yielding to the men of violence is the bedrock of unionism; and loyalists telling their role in it would be very uncomfortable for unionists who have made it a hypocritical practice to condemn that which solely sustains their existence. So, it isn’t that loyalists don’t want to talk, it is that unionists and the British state (and their puppet media) want them to keep their mouths firmly shut (as do loyalists who know that the truth will only hurt unionism).

    Still, politic purpose aside, why shouldn’t they tell their side of the story? I’m sure even Myra Hindley had her human side; and if we got to hear about her love of flower arranging, maybe society would forgive her for her crimes. Perhaps loyalists can regale us with charming tales of how they tied Catholics to chairs in the bars on the Shankill Road and tortured them to death for the general amusement of the bars patrons? Sectarian murder as a barroom game – now there is a culture that produced innovations that a people can surely be proud of. All the movie needs is a good voiceover.

  • Kinky

    The issue of unionists opening up to journalists is just one facet of a deeply diverse community struggling to identify itself in a climate of massive change.

    Most unionists feel abandoned by the British state they once viewed as their motherland. Many will never be able to reconcile seeing a person who ordered the murder of a loved one administering the education of their children. This is a justified and reasonable concern.

    Paisleys cries of “no” and “never” drew support from such people. These cries now haunt Paisley as he is forced into a position where working hand in hand with said persons is inescapable. We are all to quick to blame the politicians backward views and while Paisley is certainly a dinosaur, his views are reflected by a large section of the community.

    Its all too easy to point the finger at atrocities committed and apportion blame. We did it for 30 years and called it the troubles. What needs to happen is for each section of each community to want to move forward as one and begin to tear down the barricades, paving the way for peace. I hope Paislet can pull it off for his people.

  • The Dubliner

    He is not “a dinosaur” when his views are not only not extinct but are alive, prospering, and shared by the vast majority of electorate of unionism. If his views are bigoted, then so too are the views of those who share them. He not only represents unionism; he [b]is[/b] unionism made flesh.

    Why can’t you face that simple reality instead of asininely attempting to deny it? Is the face in the mirror that embarrassing to its beholder? 😉

  • John Lowe

    You ask who the mainlanders (from England, Scotland and Wales) who is the most negative personality in Northern Irish politics and the vast majority will go with Paisley. The fact is that he is bigoted and intransigent.

    Maybe without Paisley and his ilk, Terence O’Neill, James Chichester-Clark, or Brian Faulkner could have come up with a solution to the problems of Northern Ireland. Subsequently other UUP leaders, most recently David Trimble have been similarly hindered.

    Those who fought so hard to block the Sunningdale agreement that would have led to power sharing between the UUP, SDLP, and APNI with the background of a Council of Ireland might like to refect on the options available now.

    It comes down to either power sharing with SF or direct rule effectively co-administered from Dublin. Such is the reward for 35 years of saying ‘never’!

  • David

    There are some fair points made by G. Mitchell. Having said that the media in N. Ireland is socially sectarian more than religiously sectarian. For ten years people like D. Ervine, B. Hutchinson, B. Mitchell sought to tell how their experiences led them to conclusions way different to the Paisleys of this world. Sadly the media response was to hit back as opposed to listen.
    Many have rightly concluded that the media is an opponent as opposed to a body ‘seeking an insight’. They want paramilitary stories as opposed to learning about the paramilitary experience (which usually concludes that paramilitarism does not work). ‘Protestant working classes must be excluded’ is the media mantra in N. Ireland.

  • observer

    Why can’t you face that simple reality instead of asininely attempting to deny it? Is the face in the mirror that embarrassing to its beholder? 😉

    Posted by The Dubliner on Mar 26, 2007 @ 02:17 AM

    Likewise everyone who voted for SF supported the murder of innocent men women and chldren, they supported the Enniskillen Bombing, Manchester, Bloody Friday , the abductiion , toruture and murder of Jean McConville….

    Makes paisely seem like a pussy cat

  • The Dubliner

    David, a Marxist perspective sees all conflict in terms of a struggle between social classes. Some loyalists proffer that rationale with the ulterior purpose of absolving their selves of blame for their crimes by seeking to portray themselves as victims of a system rather than vicious victimizers with free will and a sense of right and wrong. That is a very weak defence – apart from being insidious. Others, rightly, feel used and abused by unionist politicians and by the sectarian/political system that both created and sustains the unionist statelet. That political system, however, is not to be confused with a class system. They seek to undermine the moral authority of those unionists who seek to distance unionism from loyalism by the hypocritical expedient of condemning loyalist violence (whenever such demands are made of unionist politicians). That expedient is hypocritical, of course, because unionism is loyalism and those unionist politicians who condemn loyalists in public encourage them in private. It has almost become a cliché for loyalists to make statements of regret that they ever paid heed to Paisley, et al. Paisley de facto encouraged them over 40 years to go out and murder Catholics for Ulster, only to find that he quickly distanced himself from culpability once they ethnically cleansed the statelet of another papist fenian. They, after all, looked their victim in the eyes just before they pulled the trigger and popped those eyeballs right out of their victim’s head. Papa Paisley is merely a sociopath, but they are the psychopaths who translated his poisonous words into deeds. Violence among unionists has never been a class expediency: it is purely a political expediency that has the purpose of preserving the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Paisley, unlike his hero Carson (who formed UVF, imported guns from Imperial Germany, and threatened the general slaughter of Catholics if the British government didn’t created a sectarian state for his religious group), operated in a political climate where he had to be covert about his support for sectarian murder. How else, indeed, could the preacher denounce violence without being called a blatant hypocrite? No, Paisley’s political climate didn’t allow him to an Ulster Covenant (wherein 473,000 unionists proclaimed their support for sectarian violence and disregard for democratic government), the most he could do was don his red beret while giving military salutes to loyalist mobs and found paramilitary groups such as The Third Force and Ulster Resistance. Naturally, Paisley distanced himself from the latter group as soon as it was caught importing arms in a joint terrorist venture with the UVF and him UDA.

    P.S. Observer, what about whataboutery? 😉

  • James

    i find it odd that Marian Finucane would be giving out about Paisley, seeing as she’s one of the most pro-Unionism voices within RTE.

    anyone remember the bashing she gave Ken Loach when he was on the show around the time of “The Wind…”. she tried her hardest to make excuses for the black and tans, and tried to portray Loach as some pro-terrorism treasonist.

  • acatag

    Does it never occur to unionists why the Ra never killed the old bastard? Because he was the best propaganda tool the Ra ever had. Jeez. It aint hard.

  • Aaron McDaid

    There’s a lot of things we can all speculate and whatabout about, but one thing is clear… ‘observer’ hasn’t a baldies about what Republicanism is or was. There is discussion and debate about a lot of things, but there are some things Republicanism definitely is not.

    observer: “Likewise everyone who voted for SF supported the murder of innocent men women and chldren, they supported the Enniskillen Bombing, Manchester, Bloody Friday , the abductiion , toruture and murder of Jean McConville….

    That is simply factually incorrect and I’m sure observer will be grateful to be informed of this. Glad to be of service.

  • To save me from contracting RSI from typing too much there’s more about the Paisley film/s @ http://thebogstandardblog.blogspot.com/2007/03/behind-scenes.html