Interesting thoughts from Dean Godson on the Consultative Group on the Past, who argues that the seeming emphasis on Government crime during the Troubles is hardly appropriate when the bulk of the killings where committed by anti state actors:
The modus operandi of the consultative group is strange indeed. Oddly, for a body meant to deal with the past, no professional historians sit on it. Instead, its approach seems heavily conditioned by academic experts in “transitional justice” and “conflict resolution” – whose framework of analysis is governed by international analogies such as South Africa’s emergence from apartheid.
Concepts such as “transitional justice” may be suitable for describing events in South Africa, Guatemala or Argentina, where state forces committed the lion’s share of the atrocities. They have no place in Northern Ireland where the lion’s share of the atrocities was committed by terrorists.
The leaks from the consultative group suggest that its focus will be on British state crimes. Why? Surely the role of elements of the Irish State in setting up the Provisionals in 1970 is at least as worthwhile a subject of inquiry. Why are there never inquiries into the IRA’s campaign of ethnic cleansing in Fermanagh?
Even if all parties were to be treated in the same way, the outcomes would still be inequitable. Just consider the potential disparity between subpoenaed records of the British Army and those of the IRA. Besides which, how can one have any kind of serious historical reckoning when Gerry Adams still denies that he was ever a member of the IRA?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty