Did the Chicago Sun Times make a racist slur?

Will Crawley asks whether this piece in the Chicago Sun Times is actually racist. The part he clips:

The descendants of the Protestant genocidal colonizers believe as self-evident that they are morally, intellectually and humanly superior to the descendants of the Catholics who were not quite eliminated.

Is it racism? Considering the extensive mixing between Catholics and Protestants that has occurred in the time since the plantation it would be hard to argue that there was any question of race involved. Although it is certainly a thoroughly derogatory stereotype of the average Ulster Protestant. The more apposite question might be: is this journalism?

  • Glensman

    Don’t think it is Racism, but if it is to be classed as journalism it is certainly very poor journalism.

  • miss fitz

    I’m not sure if this is Father Andrew Greely of the bodice-ripping novels, and angst driven curates, but the style of writing appears similar.

    I think its a fairly appalling piece of journalism in one way, but in another its a useful indication of how a particular American mind-set sees the conflict here in narrow and monochromatic terms. Catholics are unfailingly good, persecuted and opressed while the Planter is unfailingly grim, unprentant and cruel.

    Its a very ignorant piece of writing, which is uninformed and does nothing to enhance the progress that has been made here over the past few weeks.

    Having said that, it is important to be aware of how issues are percieved, no matter how painful it can be to be aware of those perceptions.

    I dont think this piece does any justice to the progress and commitment we have witnessed, and I think it could only have been published in America.

  • fair_deal

    Ulster Prods aren’t a race so it isn’t racist. Sectarian and xenophobic are the better descriptive terms.

  • Dave Hamilton

    Unfortunately this was published in the Albany Tribune as well… I already wrote to him expressing my extreme discomfort with this piece or misinformation. It’s a pity folk in America may find themselves relying on this as fact.

  • Dave Hamilton

    Just reading over that article it looks like it’s been (thankfully) heavily edited from the original here:

    http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=578485&category=OPINION&newsdate=4/6/2007

    And fair_deal, nice trolling! -I have absolutely no inclination to, but if I were to spout crap generalisations about Ulster Catholics would that be cool?

  • willowfield

    Never mind racism, isn’t it just untrue? Genocide? What genocide?

  • Ringo

    Don’t know that we are in any position to claim any higher journalistic standards.

    Just plug in ‘Jew’ for ‘Colonizer’, and ‘Palestinian’ for ‘Catholic’ and it sounds very familiar.

  • Martin

    Father Greely can be contacted, should anyone wish to feedback directly to him, via this the “Contact” button at the right of this link, which also contains a short bio –

    http://www.agreeley.com/author.html

    Please feel free also to contact the Chicago Sun-Times direct using this form –

    http://www.suntimes.com/aboutus/feedback/index.html

  • fair_deal

    “I were to spout crap generalisations about Ulster Catholics would that be cool?”

    No

  • Comrade Stalin

    The descendants of the Protestant genocidal colonizers believe as self-evident that they are morally, intellectually and humanly superior to the descendants of the Catholics who were not quite eliminated.

    Rotten piece of writing, a horrific bigoted rant totally at odds with the reality on the ground. Take the oft-cited points about the surnames of our leading politicians to start with.

    I find it incredible that someone based in the USA finds themselves able to point to other places and used words like “genocide” while forgetting the circumstances by which they came to occupy the soil their country presently rests on.

    Sadly I find that this simplification of things is relatively common in the USA, even in Associated Press and CNN articles; they frequently frame the whole thing as a “war” or “fight” between “Protestants and Catholics”.

  • gareth lee

    The Greeley column makes a link between the racism of the American south and the Ulster Protestants’ continuing treatment of Catholics. He has introduced the racist model to explain Northern Ireland’s previous problems and our continuing political process. I think it’s reasonable to turn his own chosen model back on him and to describe his rhetoric in this article as racist.

  • Joanna Gray

    Appalling that a priest should write this – and I say that as one of the Irish Catholics who hasn’t been eliminated by the Ulster colonizers. Disgraceful because he, as a man of God, should be arguing for peace, not a continuation of a war of words. It merely shows how distant form reality Greeley has become.

  • Politicoool

    Glad to see this article by Greeley getting some publicity. It’s yet another example of the unhelpful interference we’ve seen frm Irish Americans in Northern Ireland over the years. Uninformed romanticists who have a notion of what life is life over here based on one visit to Giants’ Causeway. They’d help the peace process immensely if they would simply write about George Bush’s middle east strategy for a while.

  • Obscure Reference

    Clerics of all stripes prefer power over truth. This is not journalism. This is sectarian hate mongering, using a far away country of which the readers know little. The easiest way to unite people is by defining an enemy. He’s way behind the times with the Catholic vs. Protestants thing though, I’m surprised he hasn’t moved on to promoting the bombing of Mecca and forcible conversion of the Muslims like so many of his contemporaries.

    Please tell me this idiot is an American and not Irish. I saw this article and laughingly forwarded it to several friends as an example of the narcissistic victimology that masquerades as an identity for so-called Irish-Americans.

    “Ireland finally made it big in the American media last week”

    Mindboggling. Is he for real? No it didn’t. Does he think Ireland has never been on the front page of the NYT before?

  • Henry94

    The headline is worse in my opinion

    Protestants may yet find excuse to delay N. Ireland peace

  • Henry94

    Actually it’s all awful. Can we swap him for Michael Stone? He’d be less embarrassing.

  • Joycean Schoooler

    I came across this debate by accident on the BBC site. As a Irish American, I am embarrassed that Fr Greeley has used his column in a majot newspaper to write such uninformed, bigotted and thoughtless hate-mongery. I wish I could apologise on behalf of all Irish Americans, but that is not possible. Instead, I encourage everyone to write to the Sun-Times with their crisiticisms. Let the newspaper know that their “expert” on Irish affairs is regarded as a sectarian echo-chamber in Ireland itself. Congratulations to those commenting here, I couldn’t agree more. Congratulations to the BBC for bringing the column to the attention of people in Northern Ireland.

  • I’m not sure there’s much point in writing to correct him. Judging from that article (which is all I can do since I’ve never heard of the “man” before) he’s clearly got no interest in accurate reporting. I can only surmise that the only aim of his writing was wilful misrepresentation and promotion of his own agenda.

    I struggled to find anything in it that was true. I find it hard to believe he’s ever been to Northern Ireland, much less met one of these “Ulster Protestants” whom he claims to know so much about.

  • miss fitz

    Beano
    If you look at his bio, you will see that he is a very well educated man, with a PhD in Social Sciences. In addition, he has been honoured by University of Galway.

    So, we arent talking about someone without the benefit of exposure to more informed and emlightened views.

    I admit I agree with the idea of writing to the newspaper to complain about the article. I hope that not only is it misinformed, bigoted and hate-filled, it is a relic of times past.

    I have also written to Fr Greely, although I admit I think that was a futile act!

  • Harris

    So in addition to every other spoken word, it has now become “racist” to speak the truth about NI? Isn’t this what “truth & reconciliation” are all about? How can both Catholic’s & Protestant’s reconcile without there being any responsability to the truth?

  • Aldamir

    I love the way that Fr. Greely begins his biography on his own website by describing himself as:

    “One of the most influential Catholic thinkers and writers of our time”

    Obviously his self-awareness is as well honed as his knowledge of Irish politics.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    An appalling article. It’s almost like a mirror image of the way northern nationalists are often presented in the rightwing British press, though perhaps written in more forthright language. Dreadful, dreadful stuff.

    Fair Deal

    “Ulster Prods aren’t a race so it isn’t racist. Sectarian and xenophobic are the better descriptive terms.”

    I agree that it isn’t racist, as such. It is incredibly sectarian – a bigoted slur on an entire community, based on an illiterate reading of history. (Greely is probably one of those guys who has read tonnes of material on Irish history but moves further from genuine understanding with each new tome he reads.)

    But xenophobic? Again, like the racist charge, this seems slightly misplaced. Is this article really evidence of a fear or loathing of foreigners? His fear and loathing seems extremely focused – after all, the “Catholics” of NI are foreigners to him too.

    Isn’t it more likely that this guy – a priest, natch – actually believes that our conflict here is really Catholic vs Protestant (and so, in terms of his understanding of the dymanic here, he falls at the first fence) and therefore has chosen a side?

    Perhaps he feels it necessary to back his co-religionists in a conflict that he fundamentally misunderstands? Or perhaps he just doesn’t like Protestants?

    Sectarian, yes. Bigoted, yes. Racist? No. Xenophobic? No.

  • SlugFest

    Comrade Stalin hit the nail on the head. I find it especially ironic that Greeley uses the phrase “self evident” … given that America’s founding fathers used the same terminology in the Declaration of Independence (‘we hold these truths to be self evident … that all men are created equal …”), yet virtually all of them had slaves.

  • Aislingeach

    Interesting…not so much the article as the reactions. First, Fr Greeley is a commentator, not a journalist, not a reporter. Biased? Yes, and very much a believer in a united Ireland, unapologetically. Racist? No. Outrageous? That has come to be a requirement in the field, although one I find deplorable. While I understand his distrust of the current accord in NI, I don’t share his jaundiced view of unionists and believe it should have been balanced with a similar distrust of republican elements, at the very least.
    That said…he’s right in that Northern Ireland seldom gets much mention in the American press; while there may be an occasional mention in the NYT, most of this country ignores you. That’s why so many of us who care about the place have to read Slugger and Newshound (and BBC, etc)for our info. He’s also written many columns against Bush’s foreign (and domestic) policies and against the demonization of Muslims that we’ve seen in the past few years. He has been very supportive of the Peace Process on the whole; he has a very dim view of the DUP and Paisley. That, I think, is the source of his dispeptic article.

  • Skintown Lad

    he’s certainly doing much to air his dim view. childish nonsense.

  • To answer the question, of course it’s not “journalism” in the sense of reporting or investigation. It’s an opinon piece that in the physical newspaper would have run in a section marked for that purpose. I don’t defend the content at all, but if you’re going to discuss this piece intelligently as a media critic, you have to have a handle on what exactly it is, first.

    And to answer a question earlier — yes, this is the Father Greely who writes the bodice-ripper/priests with tortured consciences novels.

    jf

  • Brian Boru

    I think it reflects what would have been the reality in the 17th century when they were colonisers. I don’t think things are nearly as bad as that now. If even Ian Paisley can sit in govt with the representatives of nationalism, then that shows – hopefully – that the politics of hate are dying out in the Six Counties. However with reference to history I will have to cross my fingers.

  • The Dubliner

    “Make what you will of that claim, Greeley’s language does seem strangely anachronistic given the political progress that has been made in recent weeks.” – Will Crawley

    I’m not sure why Will Crawley focuses on Greeley’s ‘language’ rather than on his synopsis of the history of British colonisation in Ireland. The synopsis is accurate; the language is irrelevant and mere idiosyncrasy. Perhaps Crawley’s trick is to encourage others to ignore the message by a mix of attacking the messenger and the wording of the message. As Greeley has de facto accused others of being racist, Crawley turns the accusation against Greeley: “Is this racist?” Or perhaps Crawley thinks that a bigot who encouraged sectarian murder and a terrorist who engaged in sectarian murder being rewarded with the political power that their respective sectarian campaigns were designed to achieve somehow renders history null and void.

    Greeley’s core claims are mostly true. The Irish are a race. The British attempted a campaign of economic genocide (the Great Famine) and many less successful but no less repugnant campaigns of ethnic cleansing against that race. The British engaged in a systematic campaign of negative propaganda and of promoting racial stereotypes against the Irish and inoculating feelings of inferiority into them that were designed to undermine their confidence to seek independence by ejecting their oppressors. The leaders of unionism, Trimble and Paisley, until a few years ago were openly referring to the Irish as a backward, inferior race living in a backward, inferior state.

    The template was repeated eslewhere and laissez-faire apologetics don’t wash as Noam Chomsky pointed out in refernce to the British colonisation of India: “…in the 18th century, India was one of the commercial and industrial centers of the world. England was a kind of a backwater – it had much greater force, but not commercial or industrial advantages. It was able to forcefully impose on India what was now called the neo-liberal program of free-market, tariffs, etc. etc. Meanwhile England itself, which was a powerful state, raised high protectionist barriers to protect itself from superior Indian goods…textiles, ships, and others. There was massive state intervention in the economy, the United States later did the same thing – stole Indian technology. Over the next 200 years, that tyranny led to an impoverished, agricultural country, while England became a rich, industrial society. The mortality rate in India after 200 years of British rule was about the same as when they took over. There were railroads, but they were run from the outside – they were there for extraction of resources. Meanwhile, tens, if not hundreds of millions of people died in famines – the famines were horrendous. So that’s the history of the British in India. After India won its independence, it began a path of development, picked up again where it was two centuries ago. It’s true that while under the imperial system, some of the better features of Western society leaked through, but India had a rich literature and culture long before England came in. Basically it was a murderous, destructive, several centuries of history, which India then got out of. Then it began to develop where there were no more famines, and the infant mortality rate began to improve enormously. There are still a lot of problems, many traceable back to the English days. That’s the history of English imperialism.”

    Greeley’s claim that protestants don’t (didn’t) want to share power with Catholics is too simplistic. Unionists don’t want to share power with nationalists, since that was the central dynamic for establishing a separate protestant state. Paisley is still profoundly anti-Catholic, dedicating much of his personal website to proving that the Pope is the Antichrist and to other anti-Catholic dementia. Paisley agreed to power-sharing not because of a deep reversal of his bigoted belief system but because it was the least bad option presented to him by the two governments. While Paisley was not a terrorist godfather as his partner in crime…. err, sorry, the executive is, Paisley conjurer of violence from the unionist/loyalist community. It’s a much lesser degree of guilt than is directly attached to the nationalist community who idolise and elect those whose sectarian violence they have directly supported. Unionists have ever right to be sickened the sight of Martin McGuinness (a vicious and unrepentant sectarian thug) being in control of their children’s education. That’s the part that Greeley doesn’t grasp. He sees the nationalist community as pure, heavenly victims; and whatever about the history, that characterizing is not of the present. Nationalists created 40 years of barbaric wilderness by their sectarian militancy that retarded all political reforms and achieved absolutely nothing.

  • fair_deal

    Xenophobia is not limited to attitudes to foreigners. However I see little value on arguing about the adjectives to be applied when we have significant common ground on how bad this article is.

  • Paul

    The issue of foreign press ‘simplifying’ NI issues into ‘Protestant’ and ‘Catholic’ is one thing I really can’t stand, as often gives completely inaccurate representations of the situation.

    One of the worst offenders is a guy called “Shawn Pogatchnik” who works for the Associated Press, and his articles appear in umpteen newspapers around the world. This guy ALWAYS uses ‘Protestant’ and ‘Catholic’ in every Northern Ireland political article he writes. You can see Google’s index of his Ireland articles here:

    http://news.google.co.uk/news?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&um=1&tab=wn&q=shawn+pogatchnik+ireland&btnG=Search+News

    I think a lot of people should complain about this guy. An example of one of his inaccuracies is below:

    “N. Ireland Protestants Reject Deadline
    Forbes, NY – 24 Mar 2007
    By SHAWN POGATCHNIK 03.24.07, 3:14 PM ET. Northern Ireland’s main Protestant party on Saturday rejected a British deadline to share power with Catholics”

  • Kelly’s eye

    This man Greeley is the one who introduced the race language in his article. He accuses Northern Protestants of being “racist” in their attitude to northern Catholics.

    I think it’s quite appropriate to turn that same language back onto him and accuse him of a racist misrepresentation of Northern Protestants.

    Race language is odd in most cases. Many academics say we should abandone race as a category, since the category itself is grounded in a racist model.

    They say we should refer to “ethnic groups” rather than “races”. There is only one race, essentially: The Human Race.

  • observer

    quite unreal, given that catholics have spent the best of the last 40 years butchering as many protestants as they could

  • lala

    “Nationalists created 40 years of barbaric wilderness by their sectarian militancy that retarded all political reforms and achieved absolutely nothing.”

    There’s so much wrong with this I don’t even know where to begin, and anyways it would only be stating the obvious that everyone’s heard a billion times before. But come on, you’re being both simplistic and incredibly one-sided with this statement. How in god’s name did nationalists alone “create” the troubles? And the sectarian militancy only occured on one side? Wise up.

  • lala

    “quite unreal, given that catholics have spent the best of the last 40 years butchering as many protestants as they could”

    the article is BS, but switching it around completley 180 degrees is equally misleading and doesn’t help matters. Is everyone in this board in their teens or something?

  • Obscure Reference

    Dub

    The Irish are not a race. Silly 18th century scientific racism designed to validate independence on dubious ethnic grounds. Irish people have a country and a culture and don’t have to rely on artificial racialist taxonomies to justify a separate existence from the oul’ enemy. We’ve moved on.

    Calling the Famine British genocide is stupid. It reduces complex political, social and economic questions to an issue of geography – all the people who live on this side of the map are good, all the people there are bad. It ignores the horrendous injustices that British people suffered also at the hands of a brutal and degenerate aristo/kleptocratic mafia, elements of which survive to this day. The problems of Ireland during the colonial period were always the problems of England, unvarnished and undiluted and frequently reaching their horrible logical conclusion.

    Can we blame the famine in the Ukraine in the 20’s solely on the Russians, and leave it at that? No, we have to recognize the role of communism and note the horrific role of that system in Russia and elsewhere also.

    Sure “India” was a giant compared to Britain, once, but it’s a fact that the industrial revolution happened in Britain not there, and that changed everything. That Noam Chomsky quote is ludicrously disingenuous and ignores the fact that there was no such thing as India until the British created it! It was the utter absence of complex power structures which allowed a few thousand British people to arrive and rule an area of hundreds of millions at the behest of an effete group of powdered and bewigged bandits on the other side of the world!

    In any case India was not part of the United Kingdom, Ireland was; a very telling point in the historic failure of Britain in Ireland, and an important distinction you choose to ignore.

    Can’t argue with your last paragraph.

  • helenann smith

    DUB:

    We can all agree that colonialism is abhorent and that British colonialism extended to Ireland. We can also agree that Paisley’s anti-Catholic attitudes and rhetoric is disgraceful.

    But that does not validate what Greeley has written.

    He’s wrong on the facts of the Northern Bank robbery.

    He’s wrong to suggest that this interim period before power-sharing is designed by “Protestants” to humiliate “Catholics”.

    He’s wrong to put ALL protestants in NI in the same category and talk about them dismissively. That’s abusive language and a form of sectarian language.

    He’s wrong to say that all descendents of colonizers – by which he means current Prods in NI – support colonisation in the past or present.

    I could go on … others here have already pointed out probems with Greeley’s speech and attitudes. Hats off to Crawley for raising the red card here.

    I’m an Irish Catholic. I’m a nationalist. I’m offended by Greeley’s misrepresentation of my Protestant friends. Some of them are nationalists and most of them are Unionist. My protestant unionionist friends are not interested in anti-Catholic rhetoric and they are not interested in humiliating me or those who, like me, voted for nationalist and Republican parties. The war is over. It’s about time someone explained that to Greely.

  • Sam Spud

    Quite right helenann. Greeley’s comments do not justice to any critique of colonialism. Informed Protestants AND Catholics in NI will see throught his nonsense.

  • Gonzo

    Dubliner

    Can you explain to me the racial differences between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams?

  • TAFKABO

    I would like to know what Greeley would make of this tread, with the various strands of political opinion coming together to condemn his article.

  • Sam Spud

    Maybe slugger can invite Greeley to respond here?

  • The Dubliner

    Obscure Reference, of course the Irish are a race. Do you think that race refers only to colour pigmentation of human skin? A race is defined as “a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.” Perhaps you object to the loaded word ‘racist’ being used to refer to Punch caricatures of the Irish as racial stereotype or object to the word ‘genocide’ being used to refer to that which it defines (“the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group”)? Too bad, and despite your trite attempts to explain away deliberate political and economic systems as being merely as casual and as incidental at the direction of the wind, the loaded definitions are entirely appropriate. The Great Famine was a deliberate act of genocide against the Irish. There was no shortage of food in Ireland during it. In fact, Ireland was a net exporter of food crops during that dark period and its exports of livestock actually increased during it – taken by armed guard to the docks. Potatoes crops regularly fail in Ireland due to potato blight. Forcing the Irish in ever increasing numbers to become dependent for their own subsistence on a crop that had a history failing could have only one outcome: mass starvation, as the poor were forced to sell their other crops and livestock in order to pay their rent to landlords and ‘avoid eviction. The modest ‘relieve’ that the British government permitted for its citizens under the Poor Law was conditional that anyone who owned over a quarter-acre of land being forced to surrender it to the state before receiving assistance i.e. being allowed to enter a workhouse. It was, in effect, a land grab exercise masquerading as relieve system – give us what land you own or die. The happy result of the genocide was the halving of the Irish population through death and emigration and a restructuring of the system of land ownership that favoured maximisation of it for the purposes of extracting greater resources from the colonised state. Colonisation is the systematic extraction of resources and wealth from a country by and means applicable. It had no other purpose and should not be explained away by its vainglorious apologists as well-intentioned when it is malevolently evil of intent and in its effects.

  • Observer

    Overgeneralised, a tad extreme and out of touch with current political correctness, but not as inaccurate as some are suggesting.

  • David D

    Perhaps it would help if we stopped identifying individual ethnicities as “races”. The Irish are clearly an ethnic group, though on traditiional accounts would be located within the “caucasian” race. Race language is now overwhelmingly rejected by anthropolgists as deeply racist in itself.

  • Angelus

    Oh God, come on Dubiner. Let’s not re-run the poor laws, the famine and the period of imperial colonialism. You’re making yourself sound as out of date as Greeley.

  • The Dubliner

    I’ve no inclination to do either, Angelus. I’m simply affirming some points that others disputed during the discussion.

    Or would you prefer a totalitarian system of ‘debate’ where we all agree with what The Great Leaders say?

  • GavBelfast

    Overgeneralised, a tad extreme and out of touch with current political correctness ….
    Posted by Observer on Apr 10, 2007 @ 08:01 PM

    Don’t be so hard on yourself, Observer, I’m sure you’re not all bad.

    😉

  • Crazed Protestant

    How about getting a petition organised to show Greeley and his sort just how united prods and taigs here are in opposition to his sectarianism!

  • Observer

    Gav
    “..but not as inaccurate as some are suggesting.”

    You forgot the rest;)

  • Cheez! It’s the Chicago Sun-Times! Whadya expect? Lidderachur?

    And as for “a PhD in Social Sciences” (miss fitz), the male bog in number 4 TCD (circa early ’60s) used to have an inscription over the toilet roll: “Sociology degrees, please take one.”

    Stuff like this is ignorant, trite and crass. It only becomes worth arguing over if anyone takes it seriously. But that’s not the Sun-Times!

  • I lived in Chicago for several years and not even the nutjobs there have anytime for this loon.

    Just chatting with a friend of mine who still lives there and he was unaware of the article, his response was “Greely? Oh he’s a right pain. I try hard to ignore him.”

  • June 76

    Oh, to see ourselves, as others see us…

  • miss fitz

    For the record, I wrote to Fr Greely after my first post and invited him to view the commentary on his article. He has not as yet responded to that invitation

  • The Dubliner writes:

    [i]It’s a much lesser degree of guilt than is directly attached to the nationalist community who idolise and elect those whose sectarian violence they have directly supported. Unionists have ever right to be sickened the sight of Martin McGuinness (a vicious and unrepentant sectarian thug) being in control of their children’s education. That’s the part that Greeley doesn’t grasp. He sees the nationalist community as pure, heavenly victims; and whatever about the history, that characterizing is not of the present. Nationalists created 40 years of barbaric wilderness by their sectarian militancy that retarded all political reforms and achieved absolutely nothing.[/i]

    Unfortunately, the Sutton summaries on the CAIN site tell a very different story about sectarian violence during the Troubles from 1969 onward. So, I say it’s time and long past time that such nonsense as the above be corrected and thrown away.

    The big, bogeyman that the Dubliner blames is certainly the Provisional IRA and the Provos were certainly, far and away, the largest and most active Republican armed group.

    The PIRA’s campaign was an armed rebellion, recognized as a “just war” by many, including a senior official at British Intelligence. Now, in a war, killing enemy combatants is NOT murder so it is false to characterize the military and RUC victims of the PIRA as murder victims — just as it is wrong to characterize the killing of PIRA volunteers and active members of other republican armed groups as murders. Seems to me that the Dubliner is propagandizing instead of stating facts in the above statment.

    So, let’s take a look at the record as reported by Sutton:

    All in all, some 1,857 civilians were killed during the Troubles — 1,101 Catholics, 585 Protestants and 171 from outside NI. Of these, the PIRA killed some 517(about 30% of all PIRA victims) civilians — 167 Catholics, 261 Protestants and 89 from outside NI. As percentages, 33% or about 1/3, of the PIRA’s civilian victims were Catholics, 50% or 1/2 of their victims were Protestant and 17% or about 1/6 of their victims were not from NI.

    How about the Loyalist Paramilitaries? All in all, they killed some 873 civilians(almost 86% of all their victims) — 686(almost 79%) Catholics, 132(about 15%) Protestants and 55(about 6%) not from NI.

    How about the security forces? They killed 190 civilians(about 52% of all their victims) — 162 Catholics(about 85%), 24 Protestants(almost 13%) and 4(about 2%) from outside NI.

    So, it is pretty clear that the Loyalist Paramilitaries and the British security forces conducted a far more sectarian campaign than did the Peovisional IRA.

    It is also pretty clear that the PIRA fought a much cleaner campaign than either of their opponents since only 30% of their victims were civilians as compared to about 85% of the victimes of Loyalist Paramilitaries and about 52% of the victims of the British security forces.

    It seems to me, Dubliner that your comments are based on propaganda rather than truth since the opponents of the PIRA fought a murch more terroristic and much more sectarian campaign than the PIRA when we look at the facts.

    Do try and get your facts correct, Dubliner.

  • Flump

    “An appalling article. It’s almost like a mirror image of the way northern nationalists are often presented in the rightwing British press, though perhaps written in more forthright language. Dreadful, dreadful stuff.”

    No way, I have never, ever, ever seen anything as bad as that written about northern Nationalists in the right wing British press. Frankly my mind boggles as to what you could have in mind. The in-house magazine of the BNP? Frankly I don’t think you’d even find northern Nationalists being described in those terms even there.

  • Flump

    @Bob McGowan

    “Unfortunately, the Sutton summaries on the CAIN site tell a very different story about sectarian violence during the Troubles from 1969 onward. So, I say it’s time and long past time that such nonsense as the above be corrected and thrown away.”

    You miss the whole conclusion to the point being made though, that nationalists (not all obviously) created the 40 year sectarian mess of bloodshed. There is a truth in that that you are not acknowledging. The British and Irish governments did not spend a decade in secret talks with loyalist paramilitaries in the expectation that if the could only get them to stop killing then republican paramilitaries would easily be expected to do likewise, it was the other way around. That illustrates the kernel of the point that was being made, whatever the headcount to establish who was most sectarian.

    Republican violence was the engine of the troubles. Loyalist violence was a reaction to it. Yes a vindictive “eye for eye” sectarian reaction but a reaction nevertheless. Who the governments talked to to try to end the troubles shows that they understood that.

  • The Dubliner

    “The PIRA’s campaign was an armed rebellion, recognized as a “just war” by many…” – Bob McGowan

    PIRA’s campaign was nationalist sectarian violence that masqueraded as republicanism. It had nothing to do with using violence to achieve Irish unity and everything to do with using violence to achieve reforms within the partitioned state for the nationalists who supported the violence and with achieving power for the sociopaths who orchestrated it. It was a militant nationalist campaign that was purely sectarian in purpose i.e. securing gains for one tribe at the direct expense of the other.

    Indeed, the sociopaths who controlled the violence have rejected the principle of self-determination (as derived from the Easter Proclamation) on which they falsely claimed their violence was based. They have signed up to an agreement that amended Articles 2 & 3 of Bunreacht na hÉireann to remove the claim of national self-determination extending to all of Ireland and by recognising the right of Northern Ireland to exist as a part of the United Kingdom. So, although you’re obviously slow to catch on, even your sociopathic leaders have rejected their claim to be a republican, de facto admitting to being militant nationalists.

    They knew all along why Ireland (which had already achieved self-determination) accepted a deal that gave them the 26 counties and try the option of trying to secure the rest by political agreement with the unionists. It was because the unionists threatened civil war and were fully capable of carrying out that threat, having imported arms and organised a resistance force for the specific purpose. The deal was done to keep the genie of civil war and ethnic cleansing in its bottle. PSF/PIRA knew that the only endgame to their violent campaign would bring that genie of civil war and ethnic cleansing back out of its bottle. But “Brits out” was never their aim. The British government could not withdraw under it had met its international obligations to normalise the society; and PIRA’s campaign – that was making the society abnormal – meant that the British had to stay in the north, not withdraw from it. PIRA’s campaign could only have the opposite outcome to its stated purpose. Loyalists did tit-for-tat for the express purpose of ensuring the Brits couldn’t leave – the more PIRA made the society unstable, the more the Brits had to stay. In effect, PIRA ensured that the north would remain British for generations to come.

    There is a good article by Paul Maguire that was published in yesterday’s edition of The Blanket. It might enlighten you, but judging by the apparent depth of your unibrowed frontal lobe, I doubt it.

  • GavBelfast

    Every so often, this ‘Bob’ character blows-in with a slight rehash of his oft repeated argument-cum-rant: so-and-so is more sectarian or less sectarian than the other, a comparison that would stink less if it was about grading the odour from different types of dog turd.

    It’s the sort of contribution you feel a bit dirty after reading. Pathetic.

  • The Dubliner

    It’s the power of labels, alas. They stick labels on the victims and sort them into categories, totalling them and then comparing which faction contributed the most victims to the categories, delighting that ‘the other side’ contributed more deaths to a particularly objectionable category than they did as if, somehow, that positions them in a more noble place than said other side, allowing such nauseating statements as Bob’s “It is also pretty clear that the PIRA fought a much cleaner campaign than either of their opponents since only 30% of their victims were civilians…” 30% of those they murdered may have been “civilians” but 100% were murder victims.

    Likewise, they label the nature of their murder campaign as “just” and a “rebellion” as if those two words absolve them of responsibility. Loyalist murders are labelled “unjust” and “sectarian” and those two words are then used to position them on an inferior moral level to the other tribe’s murderers. The fact that it was neither just nor a rebellion cannot be allowed enter their mindsets for to do so would properly put all of the murderers on a level plane. Nationalists prefer to think of themselves as victims who would never elect sectarian murderers to public office (that is something only the other morally inferior tribe would do) when the reality is that they sponsored the violence through three decades by their support for militant nationalism and whatever selfish sectarian gain they could derive from it, err sorry… noble republicanism.

    History won’t be as kind to them as they are to themselves. But until then, we’ll have to stomach PSF celebrating their squalid sectarian murder campaign and passing it off as worthy of idolisation while they, as vulgar nationalists, prostitute Irish republicanism for ever last vote they can get out of it.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The more apposite question might be: is this journalism?

    Mick
    It would appear to be an opinion column; in terms of the more sweeping generalisations made by Fr. Greeley, perhaps it compares best with the rantings of Myers, Cruise O’Brien and Harris, albeit with a different ‘target’ in scope.

    None of which have much journalistic merit in my opinion.

  • Nickyg

    A few salient points:

    * First and foremost, any outside observer with a genuine knowledge of Irish history will see this article, know it to be hyperbole with the kernel of truth, but would view the equally hyperbolic responses here as some kind of perverse confirmation of Greely’s article. This over zealous language is spouted everday over the airwaves (and cyberspace, see above!) from the lips of Unionist politicians and nutjob focus groups (and Dubliner) despite the fact that Republican involvement in the conflict in a general sense can be statistaically, factually, objectively proven to be non sectarian. See Bobs breakdown for an antidote to the hyperbole, or MIPT’s TKB (Terrorism Knowledge Database) showing 5% of IRA operations resulting in civilian casualties: objectively less than most modern wars prosecuted by State armies with modern targetting systems. All facts, which are perpetually and willfully ignored by the bulk of the British media. Nationalists have been living with this sort of thing for decades, I’m sure Unionists can digest this one opinion piece in some Chicago rag.

    * Whilst this (opinion piece, remember!) is certainly mistimed, and over simplified. The core points are essentially true. The flipside is that generations of equally skewed (moreso?) British oriented media coverage merely insulates many from coming to terms with this. I’ll use a dramatic comparison in the way the British choose to subjugate the less glorious parts of their past (eg: slavery) within their body politik. As someone who was schooled in London, then looking objectively back, this filtering of history, whilst incredulous and shameful, certainly has the end result that “ignorance is bliss”. Aside from this, open the Daily Mail and turn to Ricard Littlejohn for an extra bit of perspective regarding opinion piece ranting. Try on the net to read some penned during the conflict.

    * It has been the policy of the British in their pursuit of the “propaganda war” (thier words, not mine!) to promaote the worldview of them in the middle between the “Catholics and Protestants”. Criminalization, Ulsterization etc. Any belated wrath from Unionist thinkers with the outworkings of this policy, should perhaps be partially directed towards Whitehall. How ironic that an aspect of these propaganda policies comes back to bite Unonists in some small way, just as one of the intended targets sits down with Paisley as Dep First Minister of this place!

    So all in all, is this piece racict. Possibly. Though it is probably more accurately a reflection of someones digestion of a full reading of Irish history after being filtered through the story which the British told the world: It’s all those Catholic/Protestant Irish wot are doin it, and our boys is in the middle! (SunSpeak).

    The fact that, objectively, there is a similar amount of hyperbole, and more of a kernel of truth, in this opinion piece than that which the bulk of the British media and many Unionists propagate with regards Republicanism demonstrates where the greater level of responsibility for misinformation lies.

    Glass houses and all that…

  • Globetrotter

    Just a quick comment.

    It’s nice to sit in your glistening journalistic ivory towers and pontificate on how dreadful this piece truly is. As a child growing up in the 60’s and early 70’s in East Belfast, this is indeed the view of catholics that we were indoctrinated with. Maybe not in flowery language involving planters and genocide etc, but we all knew that “themmuns” were dirty, lazy and untrustworthy, not like us good, loyal prods.

    I doubt it’s any different today.

  • Mike

    Aye, right enough things haven’t changed in NI since then…[rolls eyes]

    Ever stop to think that maybe there were Prods out there who had a more decent upbringing than you obivously did, by the way?

  • Globetrotter

    The upbringing I described was typical of working class protestant areas in Belfast at the time. No doubt things have moved on, probably not as far as some would like to think, unfortunately.

    Define “decent” incidentally.

  • Mike

    Open-minded and respectful.

    My father, now in his early 60s, was brought up in working class Protestant East Belfast and didn’t have the upbringing you describe. Neither did many of his contemporaries.

    Working class East Belfast by the way isn’t the only manifestation of the Protestant community, by the way.

  • Roisin

    Mike,

    [i]Neither did many of his contemporaries.[/i]

    Quite. But I think the point Globetrotter is making is that too many did. This is not something that was replicated on the nationalist/Catholic side, despite those who would like to claim it was a six of one half a dozen of the other scenario.

  • Globetrotter

    Of course, working class East Belfast was a total anachronism and everywhere else was full of enlightened, fair minded paragons.

    I certainly didn’t subscribe to the view, and if anything it made me swing in the opposite direction. In a political sense that is!

    The general point is that the feelings that Greeley writes about definitely did exist.

    Let’s hope they’re diminishing in the way you seem to think they are, although I have my reservations.

    Go and stand in the Longfellow at closing time on a Saturday night for a graphic reminder that they haven’t gone away, you know!

  • Dave Hamilton

    While I understand what you’re saying Roisin, ie “too many did”, I wholeheartedly agree, but I can’t accept any part of any article which blames Ulster Protestants, or Ulster Catholics, as though 5-10% of the population solely represents the rest. It’s ignorant and lazy.

  • BP1078

    The Ulster Protestants share this conviction of the racial inferiority of the Catholic Irish — slovenly, ignorant, superstitious, lazy, no’count and responsible for all their problems — with a substantial proportion of the population of Great Britain, including their intellectuals, liberals and academics.

    Ok, “Ulster Protestants”, not a section of…or even majority, but Ulster Protestants in totality are a pack of racist bigots- I doubt Greeley has really had that much actual face-to-face contact with the Orange monsters to make that kind of all-encompasing statement. But, as already pointed out, a sectarian, not racist generalisation.

    But, the last part of this particular diatribe seems to have passed under the radar:

    with a substantial proportion of the population of Great Britain, including their intellectuals, liberals and academics

    Being the leading Catholic intellectual that he says that he is, you would have figured that, along the line, somewhere, Father Greeley would have had some kind of contact with at least one British person, be they an intellectual, liberal, academic or just an *ordinary* person- yet still he comes out with this bigotted shite.
    This is a racist slur on the entire British population.

  • Mike

    Globetrotter –

    “Of course, working class East Belfast was a total anachronism and everywhere else was full of enlightened, fair minded paragons.”

    Each class, each neighbourhood, each locality, each family, each individual is different. I had a different upbrining in North Down in the 1980s than my father did in East Belfast in the 1950s, and his experinece seems to have been different from your own East Belfast experience.

    “The general point is that the feelings that Greeley writes about definitely did exist.”

    However, as the posters above me have so ably pointed out, Greeley ascribes them to the entire Protestant community. Which would be a bit like me ascribing Greeley’s bigotry to the entire opulation of Chicago.

    “Let’s hope they’re diminishing in the way you seem to think they are, although I have my reservations.

    Go and stand in the Longfellow at closing time on a Saturday night for a graphic reminder that they haven’t gone away, you know!”

    Or pick a few Protestants at random and ask if they “believe as self-evident that they are morally, intellectually and humanly superior to the descendants of the Catholics” – you’ll most likely just get a quizzical look like you were ‘off your head’.

    By the way, these ‘genocidal’ Ulster Protestants – when exactly did they go about wiping out the Catholic population? Seems alive an kicking to me – unlike most Native American populations.

    If Fr Greeley wants to look for people that owe their position to genocide, he doesn’t have to look very far where he is…

  • PaddyReilly

    If Fr Greeley wants to look for people that owe their position to genocide, he doesn’t have to look very far where he is…

    This is a view that is common in Europe, but those of us who have experienced America know it is not true. The Red Indians/ Native Americans were not removed by genocide, they just became progressively whiter (and in some case, blacker) by intermarriage with immigrants. Just about any long established American family can point to a Native American among their great grandparents. Clinton certainly can. So could Winston Churchill. And Jimmy Hendrix.

    This was my experience of all the Americans I knew, including those who considered themselves Irish Americans. The American Blacks in particular have a very strong strain of Amerindian blood.

    Plus of course there are still plenty of unassimilated Native Americans, in fact they have an area in the middle of urban Chicago.

    Mind you, Greeley’s complaint is still invalid as most Ulster Prods have a Pape or two in their background that they’re keeping quiet about.

  • Reader

    Roisin: This is not something that was replicated on the nationalist/Catholic side, despite those who would like to claim it was a six of one half a dozen of the other scenario.
    Ah, and that would account for your respect for the intellectual and moral qualities of the average Northern Ireland Prod, I suppose?

  • The Dubliner

    “This over zealous language is spouted everday over the airwaves (and cyberspace, see above!) from the lips of Unionist politicians and nutjob focus groups (and Dubliner) despite the fact that Republican involvement in the conflict in a general sense can be statistaically, factually, objectively proven to be non sectarian.” – Nickyg

    You obviously don’t understand what sectarianism means. I suspect that the defect in your understanding confines the meaning to selection of victim by religion. Doubtless, that serves your own agenda of presenting loyalist violence as sectarian and nationalist violence as non-sectarian in-order to present nationalist murder as morally superior to loyalist murder. If you did understand the proper meaning of sectarianism, you would know that you have just engaged in it.

    Now, before acquainting you with the actual meaning, it is easy to dismiss your claim by simply pointing out that loyalists killed nationalists for a political purpose, just as nationalists killed their counterparts for a political purpose. Those they murdered were selected for murder because they were nationalist and not because they were catholic. Doubtless, child, if nationalists paraded around in uniforms as their counterparts in unionism did, then loyalists would have selected their targets by the same means of easy identification that PIRA used. It was a tad hard to kill a nationalist who wasn’t a catholic, dupe.

    [i]”Sectarianism refers (usually pejoratively) to a rigid adherence to a particular sect or party or religious denomination. It often implies discrimination, denunciation, or violence against those outside the sect. The term is most often used to refer to religious sectarianism, involving conflict between members of different religions or denominations of the same religion. It is also frequently used to refer to political sectarianism, generally on the part of a tight-knit political faction or party.

    Sectarianism may, in the abstract, be characterized by dogmatism and inflexibility; sentimental or axiomatic adherence to an idea, belief or tradition; and idealism that provides a sense of continuity, orientation, and certainty. As a pejorative term, accusations of sectarianism may sometimes be used to demonize an opposing group.

    The ideological underpinnings of attitudes and behaviours labelled as sectarian are extraordinarily varied. Members of a religious group may feel that their own salvation requires aggressively seeking converts from other groups; adherents of a given faction may believe that for the achievement of their own political or religious project their opponents must be purged. Sometimes a group feeling itself to be under economic or political pressure will attack members of another group thought to be responsible for its own decline. At other times, sectarianism may be the expression of a group’s nationalistic or cultural ambitions, or cynically exploited to serve an individual demagogue’s ambition.

    In all cases, there is a real or felt opposition between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’, between insiders and outsiders. Sectarianism may take the form of hatred and fear of an outside sect or group. In such cases, sectarianism does not require a strong sense of religious belief, as much as a sense of group belonging.”[/i]

  • The Dubliner

    And by the way, Mr. My Murderers Are More Humanitarian Than Your Murderers, dividing casualties into combatant and non-combatants is only relevant to two states where a war has been declared between them in compliance with international law.

    All of those murdered in Northern Ireland were ‘civilians’ who were murdered in an internal civil dispute and all murders were properly dealt with through the criminal justice system.

  • willowfield

    NICKYG

    … Republican involvement in the conflict in a general sense can be statistaically, factually, objectively proven to be non sectarian. See Bobs breakdown for an antidote to the hyperbole, or MIPT’s TKB (Terrorism Knowledge Database) showing 5% of IRA operations resulting in civilian casualties: objectively less than most modern wars prosecuted by State armies with modern targetting systems.

    This is dishonest (e.g. counting police as non-civilian purely to reduce the number of victims in the “civilian” category).

    This is an appalling apologia for murder. To trumpet a terror gang because it murdered lots of soldiers and policemen is disgusting. Murder is wrong, no matter who the victim is.

  • Bif

    I am curious as to the general reaction to this sentence from the article:

    “There are not many people left that the English can feel superior too, so it’s a good thing the Irish are still around.”

  • The Dubliner

    willowfield, comparing which sectarian gang killed the most civilians isn’t valid as a method for comparing the ‘virtue’ of both sectarian gangs since the option of selecting murder victims by uniform was only available to one of them: nationalists didn’t wear uniforms – they were all ‘civilians.’

    Yet, nationalists still claim ‘superiority’ for making a choice regarding their murder targets (or 70% of them) that was available to them to make but which was not, correspondingly, available to the other side to make.

    It’s all black comedy to a cynic.

    (last off-topic post)

  • Mike

    Reader –

    ———————
    Roisin: This is not something that was replicated on the nationalist/Catholic side, despite those who would like to claim it was a six of one half a dozen of the other scenario.

    Ah, and that would account for your respect for the intellectual and moral qualities of the average Northern Ireland Prod, I suppose?
    ———————-

    Indeed, Reader. Here’s one of Roisin’s little gems from yesterday, on why fewer unionist commenters may be using Slugger:

    “I suggest it’s because few unionists can stand on their own two feet and argue their corner. Even fewer can stand on level ground and do so. All those centuries hiding behind Mommy England’s skirts has turned you into crying, whining, little brats.”

    It’s truly amazing. People like Fr Greeley or Roisin air their ingrained, bigoted sectarian stereotypes of Protestants/unionists while simultaneously proclaiming that prejudice is a one-sided thing matter Protestants/unionists being bigoted against Catholics/nationalists.

    Orwellian stuff.

  • boob

    According to Bob, the “MI5 and Special Branch supplied all the [loyalist] death squads with arms, training, intelligence information, cover and immunity

    Take him with a pinch of salt!

  • GavBelfast

    I am curious as to the general reaction to this sentence from the article:

    “There are not many people left that the English can feel superior too, so it’s a good thing the Irish are still around.”

    Posted by Bif on Apr 12, 2007 @ 12:15 AM

    Like the rest of Mr Greely’s diatribe: balls.

  • willowfield

    Dubliner

    I agree entirely with your 12.58am.

  • Mr Wilson

    “Loyalist violence was a reaction to it.”

    Weren’t the UVF proud that they murdered the first RUC man and started the troubles?

  • Gringo

    ‘Bad, bad, and partly mad… the baddest man in the whole damn town….. Badder than old King kong … madder than the junk yard dog….” with apologies to what’s his name.