What Catholics don’t know about Protestants…

David Adams was good enough to post his Talkback piece yesterday in the middle of a thread where, strangely, it seemed to have been completely ignored by his most trenchant critics. It’s worth posting at the top of the blog, since, in many ways, what it claims is easy enough to read in the threads here at Slugger and on the airwaves each weekday between 12noon and 1.30, but is rarely explicitly stated. Namely that everything in Northern Ireland would be okay if Ulster Protestants just admitted they were/are wrong about everything, and Ulster Catholics are right. From Davy Adams

I’ll be speaking about Catholics and Protestants today, so that’s what I’m going to be calling them – none of this politically correct, shorthand stuff. None of this coded language nonsense, about “the nationalist community” and “the unionist community”, when everyone knows precisely who I mean.

Something else, I’ll be talking in general terms – I know fine well that what I have to say doesn’t apply to all Catholics or all Protestants – however, it does apply to enough people on either side to make it a major problem.

If Talk Back is anything to go by, Catholics are forever wondering why Protestants just can’t get with the new programme.

Well, I’ll tell you exactly why that is.

I heard somebody on here the other week talking about “the fear” that exists within the Protestant community. That’s nonsense – there is no fear.

What there is, though, is a deep anger and resentment.

And, no, this anger isn’t about the fact that the DUP is sitting with Sinn Fein in an Executive – deeply distasteful as that was for them, by and large, and except for a few people on the fringe, the Protestant community has come to terms with sharing power with Sinn Fein.

The last assembly election results were proof enough of that.

No, there are two interrelated issues that have Protestants so resentful – and I suspect many Catholics know exactly what they are.

One is this constant rewriting of history and highly selective revisiting of past events that is slowly but surely creating a historical narrative that has Catholics as virtually the only people who suffered during the Troubles.

If Protestants try to raise incidents of mass murder, ethnic cleansing or any of the countless atrocities they were subjected to, they’re accused of living in the past and not being able to accept the new dispensation.

Catholics, on the other hand, seem to be forever raking over the ashes of the Troubles – but, when they do it, well, it’s all to do with a search for justice isn’t it.

In this narrative, Catholics are the innocents and Protestants are always the bad guys.

What Protestants are hearing from Catholics is this: “Of course, it was terrible what happened to some of you and it certainly wasn’t done in our name, but you know you did bring it upon yourselves a wee bit, because you discriminated against us Catholics”.

Well, I wouldn’t try to underplay in the slightest long-ago Unionist Party discrimination in housing allocation and council representation, but let’s be honest here, despite what the Shinners and others have claimed, this place was never anything remotely like a South Africa or a Nazi Germany.

And the truth is, most of the main Civil Rights demands had been met by 1973 – but the wholesale murder of Protestants under all sorts of pretexts, continued for another 20-plus years.

And besides that, just how many Protestant lives was unionist discrimination worth?

The other issue that angers Protestants and something that’s being propagated at every opportunity is the notion that, bar the odd exception that proves the rule, they’re the only people here who are guilty of sectarianism.

Protestants are guilty of sectarianism – but they’re certainly not exclusively guilty of it.

As anybody who was raised in a mixed community or works between the two communities will tell you, it might manifest itself in different, sometimes more subtle ways, but sectarianism is something that blights all of society here.

Catholics seem eager to show Protestants that they forgive them – but only on their own terms.

That is, as long as Protestants accept most of the blame for the Troubles and are willing to be reminded at every turn of all the wrongs they committed, then Catholics are only too happy to forgive them.

Well, this might come as a bit of a surprise, but Protestants don’t want or need that kind of forgiveness. What they do want is a recognition that both sides suffered terribly and that both sides were guilty of inflicting hurt on the other.

Despite what Gerry Adams might claim, the Protestant community has continually held its hands up and admitted its part in the Troubles – which, incidentally, is more than he has ever done – so they feel it isn’t they who need to “get with the programme”.

They feel it’s time that Catholics dropped the condescending attitude, faced up to the truth, acknowledged their share of the blame, and allowed us all to move on – on an equal footing.

Who knows, in those circumstances, Protestants might even accept the idea of a genuine Truth Commission – but only if Gerry Adams is prepared to lead the way, by example.

First broadcast on Talkback, Wednesday, 8th August 2007

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  • Mick Fealty

    Sean,

    Any chance we can talk about politics, rather than bickering with other posters?

  • Sean

    Yeah Mick

    somedays the snarkiness gets the better of me

  • Lugo

    >as long as Protestants accept most of the blame for the Troubles

    Why not accept all of the blame? The historical evidence shows that Protestant mobs, backed by what passed for the forces of law and order, attacked Catholic districts in an orgy of burning and killing.

    >Protestants don’t want or need that kind of forgiveness

    In much the same way that diehard Nazis refuse to apologise for the holocaust, no doubt.

    >then Catholics are only too happy to forgive them.

    Many Catholics, seduced by new political power and economic clout may well forgive. Those who lost family and friends, murdered by the people who were supposed to be protecting them, whilst paying taxes to a government which was actively subverting it’s own laws won’t be forgiving anytime soon.

    >an equal footing

    Which does not exist now, nor will for the forseeable future. Unionism is still entrenched in the driving seat of Northern Ireland politics whether it is branded UU or DUP.

  • Cruimh

    “The historical evidence shows that Protestant mobs, backed by what passed for the forces of law and order, attacked Catholic districts in an orgy of burning and killing. ”

    You forgot to mention that they ate catholic babies.

  • Wilde Rover

    Diluted Orange

    “Some English gents thought it would be a good idea if all the Prods lived in the North and all the Catholics lived in the South. Problem solved. The only thing is that the Ulster Unionist Party of 1922 – mid 1960s readily agreed with this mantra a bit too much, but enough for the British government to give a toss until 1972. It meant that the Unionists could remain in power until eternity if they just made sure that they kept all the Prods sweet. The rest is history … “

    History is a tricky thing, written by the victors.

    At least that’s according to that French fella who sold colonial land to finance his war rather than… well, the rest is history…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “So Davy’s the latest in a long line of Unionists who appear not to be able to distinguish between State murder and paramilitary murder. Has one Unionist ever asked themselves why Nationalists (amongst others) want inquiries into the murders of Rosemary Nelson and Pat Finuncane but not Senator Paddy Wilson?”

    Posted by Dec on Aug 09, 2007 @ 04:54 PM

    Rosie and Pat were blown up and shot by the LVF and UFF respectively. Paddy Wilson, along with his Protestant bit on the side Irene Andrews, were viciously stabbed to death by Coco White, then active in the UFF.

    These were all paramiltary killings and I’m sick, sore and tired of hearing nationalist/republican MOPs (Most Oppressed People) whining on about “state collusion” in these cases when it just DID NOT HAPPEN…

  • Rubicon

    We hear a lot about needing to get state collusion with terrorists out in the open. I can see the point – but let’s not call this a truth campaign. I think most now realise that state collusion did exist but there’s precious little hope of getting agreement on whether we need to know the truth about this and not about the other collusion – that between SF and the IRA.

    Some say the IRA admitted to its wrong-doings and it’s only fair the Brits do that too. It’s a political point that some will readily accept – others will reject since the context seems important to them. Many don’t accept that SF have admitted that what they did was wrong and this half-truth campaign is pretty good evidence of it. What SF did was “claim responsibility” – it’s not semantics to see the difference.

    As for “the Prods” not demanding inquiries – ‘republicans’ jump to the first explanation that suits their view of history – that “Prods” don’t want them ‘cos it’d make them look bad. Is there perhaps another explanation? Could it be that knowing the details of the squalid conspiracies, the sneaking up, shooting and running away to hiding, stories told without shame nor remorse may just be too much to hear? For some at least this is their reason.

    Is it true that “Prods” don’t want inquiries? Not judging by many of the comments on this site. The Deputy First Minister sat in judgement and passed death sentences. On what evidence did he reach his decisions? What defence did he allow his accused? What human dignity did he afford those he believed guilty of informing before sending the nutting squad out to put a bullet in the back of their head and leave the body in a ditch? Were the accused tortured before ‘execution’?

    Lib – any chance you could ask any of these questions the next time you’re speaking with your European colleagues?

    A witness starts by swearing to tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth ..” Getting your truth means being willing to allow others their truth. Are you up for it? Deny others their truth and you deny your own.

  • The Dubliner

    Rubicon, you can safely bet your last Euro that Freddie Scappaticci won’t be invited to speak to the Shinners on their march via satellite link-up from Italy. The Shinners’ leaders allowed the most senior positions in their ISU department (which had unrestricted access to the detail of every PIRA operation in the North) to be held by British agents for over 20 years. Why they didn’t rotate those positions on short tenure to avoid long-term infiltration by Intelligence agencies is a question best asked of senior Shinners – just don’t expect an answer since they won’t even admit that British state colluded with them in their murder campaign just like it did with the Loyalists. Take Freddie, one of the key purposes of placing an agent in PIRA’s Internal Security Unit is to ensure that your touts/agents/informers are not detected by that unit. So, Freddie, a British agent within a terrorist organisation, killed over 40 ‘republicans’ in collusion with his state paymasters – and he tortured them in a manner that ranks alongside The Shankill Butchers in its depravity. The Shinners murdered those people for doing no more, allegedly, than being supportive of the North’s police service and saw fit to tarnish their names and their families with the stigma of ‘informer.’ The slight problem is – apart from the Shinners standard of justice being no more than a kangaroo court held in a border barn – is that a British agent isn’t going to be allowed to murder another British agent unless he has outlived his usefulness; and so, he’ll pick fall guys from the Shinner ranks for summary execution. Just don’t expect the Shinners to ever apologise to those families for holding kangaroo courts in collusion with the State to murder Catholic citizens – or even admit that Freddie was an agent.

    “You forgot to mention that they ate catholic babies.” – Cruimh

    Glazed in honey because Catholics are naturally bitter.

  • Cruimh

    “Glazed in honey because Catholics are naturally bitter.”

    With an orange jus 😉

  • Prince Eoghan

    I think the resident Unionist troll might have finally hit ‘rock bottom’.

    He has finally admitted that the big Orange drum was beat to head off unrest amongst Prods by appealing to an inbuilt hatred of Catholics. Well it worked too well, as a result we are left with the legacy of a part of Unionism who are too brain washed to realise the world has moved on.

    No wonder Prods are so full of frustration, many willingly bought a pig in a poke. At least we can learn from the mistakes of the past, can’t we? As evidenced on this thread we shouldn’t hold out to much hope.

    Denial!

  • Cruimh

    “He has finally admitted that the big Orange drum was beat to head off unrest amongst Prods by appealing to an inbuilt hatred of Catholics.”

    What are you on about ?< I've ALWAYS said his was haves vs have nots. I never mentioned "hatred" - it was insecurity . Straw men.The ones who were sold a pig in a poke were the poor bloody infantry of the RM who were sold down the river so that Gerry and Martin can have the holiday homes and salmon fishing. The families of kids stupid enough to believe gerry and martin’s call for sacrifices – while they were selling them down the river. The kids found at roadsides in South Arnmagh for losing a gun or talking to the brits – whle Gerry and Martin were planning not only to talk to the Brits, but to JOIN them and to lose ALL the guns.

  • Prince Eoghan

    I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning, even if the British public and prods in Ireland weren’t. I’m not sure if it is against the law to own a holiday home(I do myself) Not sure if martin McGuinness has a holiday home and what that has to do with anything.

    >>whle Gerry and Martin were planning not only to talk to the Brits, but to JOIN them and to lose ALL the guns.<

  • Cruimh

    “I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning,”

    THAT says it all about you LOL

    “many of us ”

    You are not Irish – so what’s with the “us” ?

  • Prince Eoghan

    I don’t claim to be Irish, do you need to be to have an interest in Irish/British politics? Neither are you either Mad, or is it self-hatred that you like to indulge in here so, so, so often?

    Sad!

    Go back to trolling, I almost took you seriously for a moment.

  • Cruimh

    “I don’t claim to be Irish,”

    so you are not one of us 🙂

    And it shows with “I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning” LOL

  • Prince Eoghan

    Cruimh

    Are you still claiming that you are not Madradin Ruad AKA Davros? Because he was famous for all that shoot the messenger nonsense, extravagant idiotic use of LOL, and insinuating that because people are not Irish they should butt out.

    Much better if bigots butted out instead of trolling. Going by how many people you have annoyed here of late, yir tea might juist be oot!

    Funny how after all your going crying to Mick like a big girl’s blouse about me picking on you, I’ve witnessed you doing the same to others.

    I reckon like all bullies you are only happy giving it out, and you don’t like it upye.

    Now where were we? *dusts hands*

  • justthoughtidask

    “I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning”

    You reckon?

    Good God!
    Obviously someone looking to lecture us on a place and a situation they know little or nothing about.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Obviously someone looking to lecture us on a place and a situation they know little or nothing about.<

  • Cruimh

    “I am from Glasgow,”

    And it doesn’t half show 🙂

    Scottish “republicans” have contributed just as much as Scottish loyalists – and all negative.
    Remarkably similar in mentality and knowledge.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Scottish “republicans” have contributed just as much as Scottish loyalists – and all negative.
    Remarkably similar in mentality and knowledge.< >”I am from Glasgow,”

    And it doesn’t half show :)<

  • Sean

    Prince did you see where mick carded me for picking on the poor wee mad

    I was going to ask if the little crumb had gone crying to the boss man but you showed me thats exactly what he has done

  • Cruimh

    “And your ‘nice Unionist community’ wouldn’t piss on the both of us…blah…blah. I’ve heard this nonsense before.”

    The Irish republican community don’t have a lot of time for you either, except via sales fo undefeated army T shirts, Armalite badges and Wolfe Tone CDs from the SF online shop 🙂
    They regard you as an embarrassment!

  • Sean

    Crumb
    And you would know this because of your deep involvement with the Irish national community correct?

    If any one is an embarassment to their community…..

  • Harry Flashman

    Lots of lovely man playing, no discussing the issues and guess who arrives?

    Oh hi there Sean.

  • Cruimh

    “your deep involvement with the Irish national community correct? ”

    deeper than either of you two 🙂

    Still laughing at this :

    “I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning”

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    PE, Sean

    No-one gives a fuck about your pathetic little arguments with Cruimh.

    Either get a room, exchange phone numbers or facebook pages and take it elsewhere.

  • Sean

    And look who arrives to play sock puppet

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    Sock puppet?

    Coming from you, I’ll take that as a compliment. Back under the bridge with you…

  • Sean the troll

    no problem twgm i will keep your spot warm

  • colm

    Northern Ireland will take it’s biggest step forward when people stop endlessly debating the semantics of where on the league table of fault, Catholics, Protestants, Unionists, Nationalists, Loyalists Republicans, etc. are placed and put the blame for the pain where it squarely belongs , on ALL individuals who made the choice for whatever reason to decide they could best help their community by killing someone or assisting in such actions.

  • Cahal

    Colm, quite ironically you left the brits off your list there. That’s the problem summed up nicely.

    Not their position on the list of offenders, the fact that they deny they should even be on it. Then perhaps we can move on.

  • Harry Flashman

    *And look who arrives to play sock puppet
    Posted by Sean on Aug 11, 2007 @ 01:22 PM*

    Oh “sock puppet” is it now? It was ‘troll’ before.

    Sean, see that spherical object over there, it’s called a ball.

    Try playing it.

  • colm

    Cahal

    I was specifically referring to the internecine argument between civilians who live in N.I.

    They are the ones who have to live and work here and improve it. I did not leave out the ‘Brits’ by which I presume you mean the Army and other ‘mainland’ personnel who operated in N.I for reasons of regarding them as without any blame for wrongdoings , but purely because I was concentrating on the sectarian communal mindsets that try to analyze which side of the fence was more sinned against or sinning.

  • Cahal

    Colm, both communities got it rough. I think everybody agrees on that score.

    One side was targetted by their own government. Perhaps in a few years when more comes out we’ll all agree on that too.

    Everybody is holding their hands up except the brits, as usual.

  • Sean the troll

    Colm
    The only way the SF’s call for truth could be called sectarian is if you accept that the british were in the business of killing catholics for the betterment of the protestants.

    Let me make this challenge to you. If this search for truth uncovered that collusion occured on both sides of the divide what would it benefit SF?

    SF want the truth about collusion to come out why doesnt the DUP?

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>”And your ‘nice Unionist community’ wouldn’t piss on the both of us…blah…blah. I’ve heard this nonsense before.”

    The Irish republican community don’t have a lot of time for you either, except via sales fo undefeated army T shirts, Armalite badges and Wolfe Tone CDs from the SF online shop 🙂
    They regard you as an embarrassment!<

  • Trueblue

    “Internet trolling does not really equate with an all round perspective. ”

    It certainly doesn’t, as this statement clearly shows.

    “I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning” ”

    LOL

  • Cruimh

    “What was it you used to say about the DUP never going into government with SF again?”

    I don’t know – but I doubt if you will be able to invent anything as gobsmackingly stupid and ill-informed as your own

    “I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning”

    That really was a keeper!

  • Sean

    crumb
    the quality of your trolling is truely suffering

    get out while you still can

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>I don’t know – but I doubt if you will be able to invent anything as gobsmackingly stupid and ill-informed as your own< >“I’m sure the RM were aware of talks between the leadership and the British from the beginning”<

  • Dewi

    Prince – do u really want to prolong this ????

  • Mick Fealty

    PE, Sean and Cruimh.

    Are you guys determined to make this the longest, content free thread in recent Slugger history?

    Here’s a tip: if you think someone else is: BSing; on a wind up mission; sockpuppeting or trolling – don’t feed it by responding!

    Accusing someone else of ‘trolling’ when you yourself never put your own name to anything you write carries little credibility. If you have to go annonymous, then try to make sure your contributions are beyond such reproach.

    I’m going to let this slide for now, but this is becoming too regular a game between you three to let it go much longer. Yellows will almost certainly follow, and afterwards, if it continues, a red.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Pretty obvious that I am tiring of the level of dialogue on offer.

    The last post was my parting shot honest.

    BTW what did you mean by how did Ireland loose to us? We are the best at everything, didn’t you know!

  • Dewi

    SNP up to 48% Prince

    http://www.epolitix.com/EN/News/200708/cbc989ed-92c2-4f35-960f-3b641a77c1a5.htm

    Who knows the next General Election the Scottish 1918 ???

  • Prince Eoghan

    Dewi

    Just goes to show what I have been banging on about for ages. Nationalists in government, doing a good job removes the bogeyman fears. The establishment parties and newspapers(are there any other) will have to take a different line now to stop the inevitable.

    This is why having plaid in government will be good for Wales also Dewi.

  • HoulYerWhisht

    A rather esoteric, but, if you can bear with it, helpful take on issues of identity and forgiveness, from our old friend Joseph O’Leary, SJ

    http://josephsoleary.typepad.com/my_weblog/religion_in_a_violent_age/index.html

    The Northern Ireland tragedy thrived on essentialism, which in Buddhism is the most fundamental form of ignorance (avidyâ). Ignorance is better described as false knowledge. It is not a vague, indeterminate blur, but a set of clear convictions, which are uncontested. In Sankara’s vision the solid world itself is nothing more than the sum of such convictions, all fundamentally delusive. ‘Irish’ and ‘British’, ‘Unionist’ and ‘Nationalist’, ‘Loyalist’ and ‘Republican’, ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ were positioned over against one another in rigid, dualistic alterity. All of these words now make us feel nauseous. They represent a circle in which obsessed people have turned for too long, and they have no bearing on contemporary reality. To be Irish or British, Catholic or Protestant, is not a matter of the first moment. One ‘is’ not any of these things. They are abstractions useful only for purposes of bureaucratic classification. These categories were constructed to fit an older world, in which, for example, the opposition of Catholic and Protestant had a substantial ideological, political and military significance (whereas today it is merely a contrast of styles). They are out of sync with the rhythm and texture of the contemporary world. To oppose ‘Catholic’ and ‘Protestant’ is as silly as to oppose ‘American’ and ‘Russian’, forgetting that the end of the Cold War has robbed this opposition of its sense.

    But people invest their sense of identity in these abstract labels, thus giving them a purchase on their souls. But this ‘sense of identity’ and this ‘soul’ are themselves abstractions, quite remote from the living, breathing subject. The more unreal something is, the more fragile, and the more fragile it is, the more vulnerable, and the more vulnerable, the more scarred by attack and ferocious in warding off the attack. …

    …The substantialized self is provided with a grandiose mythic history. We attribute a masterful continuity to our aims and acts, mistaking what is the product of habit formations or of a willed pose for an expression of our abiding essence. To measure this idealized self-image against the actual facts of one’s performance inflicts a salutary narcissistic wound. The same is true of a nation’s idealized self-image. Revisionists seek out facts that show the heterogeneity of history and its shifting alliances, in order to reveal the unitary nationalist reading of history as a product of the imaginaire. As the differences between the present and the past come into sharper focus, the pure identities posited by ideologically shaped history are shown to be constructs of recent vintage. Revisionism does not fix the absolute objective truth about history, for that, too, is a delusory goal. But it can free us in the present from the fixated stories about ourselves that prevent us from apologizing for or forgiving the crimes of the past. To use revisionism skilfully for this purpose we should reverse the common approach whereby the ones accused seek to minimize their guilt while the accusers maximize their wrongs. In the ideal society of reconciliation, the historical aggressors would apologize even to excess for the wrongs inflicted, never giving themselves the benefit of the doubt, while the victims would seek to strip away the exaggerations and simplifications of received propaganda and to air the old grievances in a more modest and even deprecatory manner, conscious of shameful blots on their own record as well. This self-emptying approach is being achieved in much present discussion of Irish history.

    …Buddhist wisdom, then, brings a scathing scepticism to bear on the various hallowed identities over which people fight, but it is a compassionate scepticism, dissolving oppositions to discover a commonality of suffering in which the opponents are united. Where Catholics and Protestants, Unionists and Nationalists, see in each other’s chauvinism an offensive arrogance, the Buddhist perspective sees an identical suffering based on an identical illusion. Here is the chief cause of suffering, and the chief target of the educative mission of compassion. When church leaders speak for ‘their people’ they implicitly underwrite the tribalism that has poisoned religious identity, failing to bring into play the Gospel perspective that, like the Buddhist one, signals what the two sides have in common rather than what divides them. Religious faith has been cultivated in Ireland in opposition to the openness of the critical mind, and despite superficial changes since Vatican II this syndrome continues to operate…

  • DK

    Surely Davy Adams should realise that there are only enquiries about the role of the British in the troubles, because they are the only ones that can be targetted. You can hardly go to Sinn Fein and ask them to start an enquiry, because they can’t and won’t.

    So, there will be enquiries for as long as there is a British Government. If the UK ever devolves then maybe there will be no-one left to do the enquiries and Davy will feel less persecuted.

    Perhaps the best approach for the protestant people is to dissassociate themselves from the British, so that enquiries don’t seem like attacks on themselves. Maybe Paisley’s new “Ulster Nationalism” is a way forward.

  • fitzpatrick

    But think of all the Protestants who died fighting for the civil rights of Catholics over the past 40 years.