“Blessed, then, are the peacemakers…”

Spotted by Newshound. A hard hitting polemic from one of the best at the art, Christopher Hitchens at Slate, on the “phony photo-op”.

Both Paisley and Adams know very well of things that happened that should never have happened. And both of them, in order to arrive at that smug power-sharing press conference, have had to arrange to seem adequately uninformed about such horrid past events. Both have been photographed carrying coffins at political funerals—funerals that were at one time the main cultural activity in each of their “communities.” One day, their private role in filling those coffins will be fully exposed. In the meantime, they are the recognized and designated peacemakers. If you can bring yourself to applaud this, you are a masochist clapping a well-matched pair of sadists.

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  • At least someone has the courage to mention Paisley’s responsibility for what happened. I recall a Spotlight documentary a few years ago when 2 former UVF men stated that they were directly “inspired” to go out and murder Catholics after listening to Paisleys speeches of hatred. I have no doubt that much more has still to be revealed, and will be, after his time has ended…

  • While I am sure that most people would wish that what happened here in the last 30 to 40 years never occured, the fact is it did and if we are to try to move to a democratic society we are going to have to accept that the people who lead us may have baggage from the past. The question remains for Hitchens and everybody else is that if we don’t move forward with Paisley and Adams what do we do?…..go back to the past again.

  • ffs

    they’re not a ‘well matched pair of sadists’. well matched would mean that they’ve had murdered roughly the same number of people. they haven’t.

  • Dessertspoon

    So ffs what are the scores on the doors??

  • Henry94

    There is nothing in the latest Northern Irish agreement that was not easily available to both sides way back in 1967 or ’68.

    I think he’d have a hard time selling that one.

  • francesco

    wish you all a bright and peacefull future, buona fortuna!

  • Dr Strangelove

    Well said Macswiney. Paisley has been as mired in the sordid details of the last 40 odd years in the North as any of the loyalist gunmen he gave encouragement to.

    If you haven’t read it, get Hitchen’s book “The Trial of Henry Kissenger”. Superb.

  • Ondine

    Is Pete Baker the last person alive who takes Christopher Hitchens – the drink-soaked former Trotskyite popinjay who lost all self-respect in his cheerleading for slaughter in Iraq? Or is it just that anyone who says something Pete agrees with is worth quoting, no matter how off the planet they are? In which case I’m sure the LaRouche website is worth trawling.

  • ffs

    “So ffs what are the scores on the doors??” – as I said, markedly unequal, *not* well matched. That tiny handful of morons who still, to cover their own dirty backsides, want to insist, ‘aw shure we’re all as bad as one another’ are going to convince no one other than themselves. Gerry Adams is a much, much worse man than Paisley. Unless, of course, Paisley murders a thousand odd people in the time left to him. Then they’d be roughly matched.

  • andy

    I normally like this hitchens, despite some flaws in his judgement.
    However I can’t see the point in this article. As the second poster says – we are where we are. You can applaud positive movements while not particularly liking the history of individuals behind them.

  • merrie

    Did not like the Hitchens article. Agree with you Ondine. Why carp and sneer and oversimplify or misrepresent the causes of the troubles – what’s done is done and the event of the 26th March is the beginning of a new age in NI (hopefully).

    Much prefer this article in Slate:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2138163/

    which reference Slate handily put at the bottom of the Hitchens piece.

  • Mayoman

    “well matched would mean that they’ve had murdered roughly the same number of people. they haven’t.”

    What a load of b****l*x!!! So the crap bomber who blows himself up is less evil than the competent bomber who kills 20 people? Or the false Dr who hasn’t the evil guts to pull a trigger himself, but has others do his dirty work for him, is less evil tham a man who plants a bomb? Get your head out of the sand! Evil goes beyond a count of body bags, unless you are an unionist apologist.

  • ffs

    Yeah, yeah, people who *don’t* murder people are worse than those who do. Welcome to the wonderful world of Irish republicanism: neverly knowingly out space cadeted.

  • heck

    of course it’s those bad irish. British shite does’nt stink.

    Hitchens should remember that there was a third violent (sadist) actor, britain, as well as the prods and taigs. But he prefers the simplistic and racist analysis that it was all tha fault of the violent micks.

    I don’t think we need to take any moral lectures from a cheerleader for the illegal iraq war.

  • circles

    Hitchens should inform himself first. The role of the British government in the fine mess of the north is conspicuous by its absence. It seems it was dem uppity paddys wot done the lot, and by god we’ll never know why….

    A patronising, inaccurate piece from one of the best in the business that sort of thing

  • Liam Gordon

    Hitchens has all the sense and practical awareness of a stern lower-sixther. He rampages about with a poetical streak judging the world in terms of black & white, when most adults only see grey. Sure Pinochet and Kissinger and Hussein are all ‘bad’ men, but at times, the alternatives were worse.

    Hitchen lives is a vacuum, seemingly insulated from the realities of modern life. The holier than thou pronouncements, admirable and we argued, betray either a pathogenic naivety, or a calculated effort to annoy and provoke. He may see himself in the style of Orwell, and hopes to be remembered as such- only history will decide. But currently he is in classic ‘catch yerself on sunshine’ territory.

    Some of things he says make sense, especially when writes about topics about which I have no first-hand experience. But then when he pontificates on a subject than I am familar with, I suddenly realise what a sanctimonious prat he is.

    What is the alternative to Adams and Paisley muppet show? More killing? Jaw-jaw is better than war-war…except for the self-righteous

  • nmc

    ffs,

    they’ve had murdered roughly the same number of people

    if you want to argue numbers, let’s have them.

    Ian Paisley, convictions for murder 0
    Gerry Adams, convictions for murder 0

    Let’s go further, Gerry Adams claims never to have been in a paramilitary organisation. Can big Ian claim the same? No.

    Unless, of course, Paisley murders a thousand odd people in the time left to him

    You must think Gerry was the only person in the IRA.

    people who *don’t* murder people are worse than those who do

    2 former UVF men stated that they were directly “inspired” to go out and murder Catholics after listening to Paisleys

  • Mick Fealty

    Hitchens rightly curtails his comments in consideration of British libel laws. I hope others will follow his example!!

    nmc, it will help if you can cite the precise examples!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LG: “What is the alternative to Adams and Paisley muppet show? More killing? Jaw-jaw is better than war-war…except for the self-righteous.”

    For starters, “jaw-Jaw” is sometimes, maybe even usually, but not always better than “war-war.” The European “soft power” model of “whine shrilly and ask to borrow the American stick” ought to be proof of that. as the old comedy bit about the English bobby goes, its a case of “Stop!! or I’ll say stop again.”

    As for the alternative, there is the status quo, there is “plan B” and there is whatever Parliment thinks it ought to be today or the next one.

    What N.I. is enjoying is a mutually perceived least of all evils, otherwise known as a compromise. Paisley didn’t want Plan B, Adams wanted something beyond the status quo, whilst Britain seemingly just wanted to move on to the next issue. Everybody gets a cookie, populace takes five in preparation of the next crisis.

  • Liam Gordon

    “Everybody gets a cookie, populace takes five in preparation of the next crisis.”

    Thankfully the next crisis is unlikely to result in violence, which can only be a good thing.

    I am hoping a sustained period of peace, compromise and fudge, results in violence becoming inconceivable. Not simmering below the surface, but just not an option.

    Re: soft power. In 1912, the European economy and stock market was larger than the US. Two world wars and a divided continent later, Europe (if you count Russia), has a total sotck market valuation equal to the US, regaining that position. Almost 100 years lost through violence being both conceivable and turned too. Surely history tells us that soft power has it’s merits?

    The tough question, and mark of a true statesman, is to know when to move from soft power, into violence: when to stop talking and start fighting. When a treat moves from a thorn in the side (Cuba-US in the 60’s) to being a dagger in the heart (Hitler et al.). With Hitchens all I hear is a repeated, hysterical call to arms. Every event and dispute is the next prelude to fascism and visceral conflict. And, if the perfect solution can’t be reached, then fight on until the nirvana is attained.

    I can’t remember the quote but in the early 70s it was said that the OIRA would not be happy until the Tricolour flew over the bombed out wasteland that was once NI. I feel Hitchens would love the purity of such a victory.

  • bertie

    “2 former UVF men stated that they were directly “inspired” to go out and murder Catholics after listening to Paisleys ”

    So?

    Murderers trying to shift the blame for their actions, so what’s new?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LG: “Re: soft power. In 1912, the European economy and stock market was larger than the US. Two world wars and a divided continent later, Europe (if you count Russia), has a total sotck market valuation equal to the US, regaining that position. Almost 100 years lost through violence being both conceivable and turned too. Surely history tells us that soft power has it’s merits? ”

    I didn’t say it was useless, Liam. I even said it was usually preferrable to war. However, soft power has some drastic limits, as evidenced by the unpleasentness in Yugoslavia, the failure negotiations with Iran and the ineffectuality of the United Nations in general. Soft power, as practiced by Europe, is largely ineffectual, consisting of finger-wagging and marginal punishments, usually ignored by the bad actor. Soft power only works when the bad actor can be shamed, such as Ghandi against the British Empire.

    Your statement of relative economic standings is not really material — the war-war known as WW I resulted from a the complex treaty relationships that Europe had jaw-jaw’ed its way into. Likewise, the Second World War, arguably, was aided by the European preference for jaw-jaw. Had Europe not “jaw-jawed” the Czechoslovakians down the river and actually stood behind their words and promises, the resulting war would likely have been far shorter and readily contained. Likewise, it was an attempt to excercise “soft power” that precipitated the attack of Pearl Harbor — the US refusal to supply oil, steel and rubber impeded Japan’s expansionist policies and, to prevent further opposition, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

    LG: “The tough question, and mark of a true statesman, is to know when to move from soft power, into violence”

    To move from soft power to violence, one must have a military sufficient to the task, something the EU lacks.

    LG: “When a treat moves from a thorn in the side (Cuba-US in the 60’s) to being a dagger in the heart (Hitler et al.).”

    Point of fact. Cuba strove to be far more than a “thorn in the US side,” what with the nuclear missiles they allowed the Russians to place there. Likewise, at the same time as Castro was denouncing the US, the US sought to excercise “soft power,” in the form of aid.

    As for Hitler, the man wrote a book outlining what he was going to do. No better warning could have been done, short of Hitler buing full-page adverts in international papers. There were multiple opportunities stop the larger war, but that would have taken hard power, rather than appeasing the madman with other people’s countries.

  • austin

    ininspiring stuff from Hitchens

  • Mayoman

    So ffs, you think Micheal McKeviit, who was ‘only’ found guilty of ‘directing terrorism’ should be released at once then? And in fact, in your line of thinking, that whole law should be repealed?? I imagine someone who provided an argument in favour of such to be, maybe, slightly worse than a space cadet?? Ostrich-sand, ostrich-sand.

  • Obscure Reference

    Is Ol’ Hitch aware that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom?

    I agree with his central point but what we have here is one paragraph stretched out into an entire article. He’s going for an The Emperors Have No Clothes effect, but those of us who have been paying attention already know that, and can describe their warts, naughty bits, varicose veins etc at length and have resigned ourselves to it because we live in the real world and not some fantasy land where the invasion of Iraq was a good idea.

    This little routine that English journalists do, where they look askance at Northern Ireland, elbow each other in the ribs and exclaim superciliously “the Irish are all bleeding mad. Tut, tut. Religion, innit.” It’s boring.

    He knows his stuff about Kurdistan though. Or does he?

  • It is interesting to see that Hitchens is as wrong on the north of Ireland as he is on his support for the Iraq war.

  • seanzmct

    Hitchens has got this one right. There are plenty like him who will not be caught up in the gormless rush to sanctify the blood-stained Paisley/Adams clique of political retards who have brought us all the way back to Sunningdale, via murder and mayhem.