Enniskillen Bomb Plaque and the Equality Commission

The removal of the memorial in Enniskillen Fire Station to those murdered in the 1987 Poppy Day bombing was apparently prompted by a complaint from one member of staff. It was allegedly seen as a political emblem for having photographs of the one girl and ten pensioners murdered and the following words: “The innocents who lost their lives.” The removal of the tribute itself caused extremely widespread controversy. A new tribute to those murdered has now been put up in Enniskillen Fire Station according to the Impartial Reporter. This has not, however, satisfied Arlene Foster or Tom Elliott nor would it appear some of the relatives of those murdered.One of the strangest aspects of this is that, according to Arlene Foster, the Fire Service did not seek any advice regarding the original tribute’s alleged offensiveness from the Equality Commission. A similar problem seems to have afflicted Banbridge Council with the unionist councillors seemingly panicking and removing plaques honouring the RUC and UDR, apparently before there was any evidence of a complaint having been made (except obviously by SF councillors).

Both these episodes seem to show that fear of possible censure by the Equality Commission is provoking actions which the Equality Commission might well not have demanded; a little like the assorted occasions on which fear of Health and Safety legislation is used as a reason to ban things which the real Health and Safety professionals would be unconcerned with.

  • joeCanuck

    Unbelievable.
    Shame.

  • Quaysider

    Who is this member of staff?
    I see no reason why the media should not identify this individual.

  • willowfield

    “Who is this member of staff?”

    Someone who somehow considers the Enniskillen victims to have been “guity” of something.

    Perhaps she also considers the perpetrators to have been “fine men”.

  • Gerry lvs Castro

    ”She” Willowfield? Do tell.

  • Quaysider

    There is a clear public interest in questioning this person’s motives.
    Why hasn’t the media done so?

  • Rapunsel

    I must say I am sick with people getting on their high horse over this issue. the fact that someone objected to the photomontage does not mean at all that they believed the perpetrators for the enniskillen atrocity to have been fine men or that the people killed have been guilty of anything.

    As far as I know this was the only commemorative plague in Enniskillen fire station. The commemoration of a single event within a public service building in a community where there have been many such horrific events and the use of the word innocents in a society where some victims of the conflict are not regarded as innocent was likely to become problematic . I don’t think that this being pointed out takes away from the wrongness of the bomb or the innocence of the victims. Would the Fire Service need to go to the Equality Commission on this issue at all? I’m not sure and likely it was within the powers of the service to act to comply with the law and to avoid a constructive dismissal or harassment claim. Given that no local resolution was found can one not conclude that there was not even unity amongts the staff over how this issue was to be dealt with? Little option then than for the management to impose a solution

  • Turgon

    Rapunsel,
    So someone objecting to the use of the term “innocents” does not mean that they are taking away from the innocence of those persons who were indeed innocent. How fascinating. So black is indeed white and vice versa.

    As an alternative to your view may I proffer that this is an example of one especially nasty, sectarian and bigoted individual objecting to public recognition of those who died in one of the more dreadful sectarian murders committed here. Further it is an example of in this case the Fire Service failing to stand up to such pathetic bigotry.

  • willowfield

    RAPUNSEL says:

    “the fact that someone objected to the photomontage does not mean at all that they believed … that the people killed have been guilty of anything”.

    Then, he or she says:

    “… the use of the word innocents in a society where some victims of the conflict are not regarded as innocent was likely to become problematic . “

  • joeCanuck

    Has now gone from “shameful” to “disgraceful”.

  • wild turkey

    ‘ So someone objecting to the use of the term “innocents” does not mean that they are taking away from the innocence of those persons who were indeed innocent. How fascinating. So black is indeed white and vice versa. ‘

    Spot on Turgon

    Rapsunel
    ‘ where there have been many such horrific events’

    What other horrific events have been dealt with by the Enniskillen Fire Station?

    ‘the use of the word innocents in a society where some victims of the conflict are not regarded as innocent was likely to become problematic’

    who are the ‘some victims’ of the conflict not regarded as innocent?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Rapunsel: “I must say I am sick with people getting on their high horse over this issue.”

    So am I… although I doubt we mean precisely the same thing.

    Rapunsel: “the fact that someone objected to the photomontage does not mean at all that they believed the perpetrators for the enniskillen atrocity to have been fine men or that the people killed have been guilty of anything. ”

    But it is, within certain tolerances, the most likey explanation, although we may end up quibbling about the specific words. Someone is somehow offended/upset that the victims of this bombing have been memorialized.

    That said, the language of the memorial is non-partisan and fairly accurate — unless you’d care to explain to me how ten pensioners and a pre-teen girl were somehow deserving on this fate…

    Rapunsel: “As far as I know this was the only commemorative plague in Enniskillen fire station. The commemoration of a single event within a public service building in a community where there have been many such horrific events and the use of the word innocents in a society where some victims of the conflict are not regarded as innocent was likely to become problematic .”

    *shrug*

    Neither here nor there, Rapunsel, unless you can point to a bombing that this fire-house responded to that they have chosen to ignore.

    Rapunsel: “I don’t think that this being pointed out takes away from the wrongness of the bomb or the innocence of the victims.”

    But it does high-light that someone would prefer their memory swept under the rug, rather than memorialized.

  • Ulster’s my homeland

    If I knew the name of this bigoted fire woman, I would name and shame her for trying to undermine the innocence of the people who died on that horrific day.

    name and shame her!

  • lib2016

    There are many versions of how we reached the divided state of this society and trying to claim all virtue for any of them won’t get us very far. Sure, you can bring back the witch-burnings and the personal attacks, indeed there are times when thee seem to be very little else being posted here, or alternatively you can try and learn that the minority too have their right to be heard, however repugnant that right is to you.

    Like Rapunsel, I truly don’t understand why and how unionism appears to have no shame or regret for its part in what has happened here to the point of writing all opposition out of history. This was a militaristic display celebrating a violent occupying army in the centre of an occupied town. It was tragically attacked in a shocking display of hatred which repelled any decent person.

    I respect your right to have your opinion but don’t forget that there are a great many people who see things in a very different light. And you can’t just keep locking us up or denouncing us forever or murdering our peaceful demonstrators. Those days have gone.

  • lib2016

    There will come a day when we can mourn our dead together and with respect. Can’t we at least leave the hate and political opportunism out of things until then?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “Like Rapunsel, I truly don’t understand why and how unionism appears to have no shame or regret for its part in what has happened here to the point of writing all opposition out of history. ”

    As opposed to the enthusiastic erasing of inconvenient truths by republicans, lib2016? Just shuffle off the unfortunate, create the unremembered dead and dumb down the Troubles to a vague “bad things happened, we should just forget about it” meme?

    lib2016: “This was a militaristic display celebrating a violent occupying army in the centre of an occupied town.”

    How do you derive a “militaristic display” from “photographs of the one girl and ten pensioners murdered and the following words: “The innocents who lost their lives.””

    Are these pensioners toting firearms? Was the child carring munitions?

    Are fire-fighters somehow now paramilitaries, lib2016? Or is it now time to outfit you with a head-dress and royal barge, you having fallen into denial?

    Lib2016: “It was tragically attacked in a shocking display of hatred which repelled any decent person. ”

    Aw… some Republican unable to stomach the fruit of their beliefs, more like it, perhaps with a little scab-picking and point-scoring on the side.

    As a point of reference, most “decent” people would have been outraged by the bombing itself, not the rememberance of it.

    lib2016: “There will come a day when we can mourn our dead together and with respect.”

    Only we won’t be allowed to remember who they were or what they believed, lest the act of remembering offend someone… Oddly enough, this policy of forgetting doesn’t apply to Republican paramilitaries.

    lib2016: “Can’t we at least leave the hate and political opportunism out of things until then?”

    So long as SF and their ilk use the Equality Commission as a clumsy bludgeon to excise rememberance of the fallen, I suspect your words will ring hollow, lib2016. Tolerance, it might suprise some, is a two way street, not just one set of muppets whining their way to an erasure of their fellow-travellers misdeeds.

  • willowfield

    This was a militaristic display celebrating a violent occupying army in the centre of an occupied town.

    Words fail. The ethnic hatred and intolerance are dripping out of that sentence.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    The obvious question still remains – why did the fire service choose this slaughter above all other slaughters for commemoration? All or nothing! There is no hierarchy of victims!

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>This was a militaristic display celebrating a violent occupying army in the centre of an occupied town.< < Fair comment I reckon! Dread >>So long as SF and their ilk use the Equality Commission as a clumsy bludgeon to excise rememberance of the fallen<< There is merit in much of what you say. However is there not a chance that remembering the dead could equally be used as a clumsy bludgeon. I personally have no truck with having such a plaque at a fire station. Does not negate the wider point though.

  • DM

    Pancho – because they (Eniskillen firefighters) had to pick up the pieces after this one.

    Lib, PE – wise up.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “There is merit in much of what you say. However is there not a chance that remembering the dead could equally be used as a clumsy bludgeon. I personally have no truck with having such a plaque at a fire station. Does not negate the wider point though. ”

    A couple of points…

    I can fully understand why, out of all the instances the fire-house responded to, a bomb that killed pensioners and a child would stick with the responders to the aftermath of the bombing.

    Yes, rememberance of the dead can be a bludgeon, but doubt this was the case in the instance under discussion, Eoghan — a simple memorial plaque in one fire-house — no sectarian rhetoric, just the rememberance of a very bad call, one very bad day for the firemen of that firehouse.

    Do you think that Republicanism is ready for the wholesale dismantling of “offensive” memorials, such as those to the Hunger Strikers? I mean, one man’s poison may be another’s ambrosia. Or would there be, as I personally suspect, a loud howl of protest from a sizable portion of SF muppetdom were there a wholesale uprooting of these shrines?

    Lastly, the more these things happen, the harder many will cling to these symbols. It would be a better and surer path to ignore these symbols — let the photographs yellow and curl and let the plaque dust into honest oblivion than to try and pry them from the objecting fingers of those who hold them dear.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Not to labour a point but I’m sure the same firemen pulled men, women and children from wrecked cars/burning buildings and may even have gathered up the corpses of ‘security force’ victims – so why choose this slaughter?

  • Turgon

    Pancho’s Horse,
    “why choose this slaughter”

    Well 10 pensioners and one girl (19 from memory, I can get her exact age very easily if you want) dead and lots more injured. I thinks that’s why.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Ah, so that’s the key, Turgon ……….. numbers! And there’s me thinking it was because they were all British camp followers. How wrong can you be?

  • Turgon

    Pancho’s Horse,
    Be a little careful of insulting those to whom some events have great significance. I choose not to scoff at anyone’s death in Northern Ireland and I think my record bears that out. Maybe you could consider doing likewise.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I am not scoffing, Turgon. Au contraire! It is the singling out of one victim more than another that I despise.And this mean little ‘province’ is very, very good at it in so many hurtful little ways.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Dread

    Like I say there is not much we differ on here, just to pin point my ‘wider point’ remark though.

    >>Do you think that Republicanism is ready for the wholesale dismantling of “offensive” memorials, such as those to the Hunger Strikers?<< Don't know if you have just chosen a bad example here, but there is little likelihood of a hunger strike memorial being in a building housing public servants. To all. It is easy to see just why members involved in rescuing victims from this atrocity might wish to remember their part therein. The residue of such attacks is that victims of the mind are casualties long after the wounds heal, many are often those rescuers themselves. I do not for a second believe that this memorial is being used for anything other than is intended. I guess this contradicts my 'wider point', but we are not robots, and situations should be dealt with in a holistic manner.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    ‘Fraid not, Prince Eoghan. Why would anyone want to have memories of this slaughter in their face every day? I can understand the relative of a dead person having a photo in their private house but this is a civil building. I think, instead of tut tutting over this dreadful person who complained about the montage we should analyse the mind of the individual who put it up in the first place. And does holistic mean ‘fair and equitable’? Is that the reason that say, Newry Fire station has a montage of the Miami Showband victims on their wall? All or none!

  • joeCanuck

    Could all you religious ones have a prayer for me; I think I’ve died and gone to hell.

  • BonarLaw

    “This was a militaristic display celebrating a violent occupying army in the centre of an occupied town”

    *shakes head, remembers ball not man rule, retires to bed aghast*

  • name

    what about a plaque commerating the two fermanagh men who were stabbed to death by british troops in the pitchfork murder case

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Pancho’s Horse: “Not to labour a point but I’m sure the same firemen pulled men, women and children from wrecked cars/burning buildings and may even have gathered up the corpses of ‘security force’ victims – so why choose this slaughter?”

    Firstly, you assume facts not in evidence, making a convenient assumption.

    Secondly, can you think of an incident in Enskillen that matches this?

    Pancho’s Horse: “Ah, so that’s the key, Turgon ……….. numbers! And there’s me thinking it was because they were all British camp followers. How wrong can you be?”

    I can think of a couple things beyond simple numbers. Usually, with a fire or shooting, your not left trying to figure out whose parts are who — something that can happen in the case of a bomb.

    Second, numbers, especially shredded numbers, will make more of an impression than someone with a simple “through and through” bullet or a burnt body. Fire personnel and paramedics tend to develop a grim sense of humor, particularly where the normal events of a crime are concerned.

    Pancho’s Horse: “I am not scoffing, Turgon. Au contraire!”

    Stuff and nonsense — you’re a couple steps shy of dancing on graves.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “Don’t know if you have just chosen a bad example here, but there is little likelihood of a hunger strike memorial being in a building housing public servants.”

    But I do seem to recall reports in the news that they are located in public spaces without so much as a permit or a by-your-leave.

    Half of this whinge-fest, taken as a whole, sounds like a complaint that there just aren’t any Republican tchotchkes.

  • 0b101010

    From what we have to go on the removal appears to be more political than the placement, but there’s no need for any of these plaques in public buildings in the first place; they aren’t mausoleums.

    Caught a wee glimpse of the original montage on the BBC — can’t see anything offensive in the depiction myself. Must just be the faces of dead Northern Irish civilians reminding militant republicans that their wanton local destruction and massacre of their supposed countrymen was nothing more than rabid blood lust.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Has the time come round again to mention the blanket bombing of Dresden where 10000 civilians were barbecued by the brave men being commemorated at Enniskillen. But that was war not a grubby little colonial/sectarian conflict and ‘bad things are done in war’. And Dread Cthulhu,I feel as much for the dead in Enniskillen as the two aforementioned locals murdered by pitchfork wielding mercenaries. No more – no less.

  • “Has the time come round again to mention the blanket bombing of Dresden”

    Unless someone is taking down memorials to the dead there then I fail to see why you’d mention it at all, except for the sheer thrill of blatant whataboutery.

  • Doctor Who

    Pancho´s Horse

    “Has the time come round again to mention the blanket bombing of Dresden where 10000 civilians were barbecued by the brave men being commemorated at Enniskillen.”

    Ah!! that old chestnut.

    Different ball park completely, also the blame for Dresden lies firmly at the feet of Nazi Germany. Just ask the people of Guernica, the survivors of the death camps, oh need I go on.

    So even if we take your point seriously, what you are actually saying is the people murdered in Enniskillen where complicit in the bombing of Dresden.

    Now that´s just silly.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Dread

    >>But I do seem to recall reports in the news that they are located in public spaces without so much as a permit or a by-your-leave.< < A complete strawman! Or perhaps you really don't know the difference between a public building where public servants work, and a piece of land, often derelict in overwhelmingly Nationalist areas. >>Half of this whinge-fest, taken as a whole, sounds like a complaint that there just aren’t any Republican tchotchkes.<< This just informs me that you either aren't able or do not wish to address the 'wider point'. And wtf is tchotchkes anyhow? Pancho When dealing with emotive issues like this it is not always possible to deal with things in a fair and equitable way across the board. I probably meant holistic, as in dealing with events on their own merits.

  • Paul

    “Different ball park completely, also the blame for Dresden lies firmly at the feet of Nazi Germany”

    Yes folks, it’s that easy and quick to justify and excuse the killing of 100,000 civilians.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Just because it’s a hoary old chestnut doesn’t make it any less true. At the time of Dresden, Nazi Germany was already beaten. This was revenge, pure and simple. We did it because we could.But that’s beside the point.Leaving numbers aside and leaving the goriness of the slaughter aside and leaving aside that all dead were British/Protestant, why was this incident chosen above all others to be commemorated by a page pulled from a local newspaper? Was this the case in Omagh?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “A complete strawman! Or perhaps you really don’t know the difference between a public building where public servants work, and a piece of land, often derelict in overwhelmingly Nationalist areas. ”

    Are you prepared to say that that is how *all* of them are located, Eoghan?

    I seem to recall quite the row over one that sprung up in a shared space — edge of a play-ground used by a cross-community group.

    Likewise, it was *one* complainer in the Enskillen firehouse. Fairness would suggest that it should only take *one* complaint to remove such a memorial. Are they prepared to accept the sort of treatment they are willing to dish out?

    Which still leaves the open question — the one you are assiduously not addressing — do you imagine that Republicans, where applicable, are ready to see their symbols receive the same treatment? Allow me to add a second question — are they ready to accept the same level of pettiness as has been evidenced in some other cases — the “Chuck and Di” coffee mug cited in a related thread, for instance.

    Prince Eoghan: “This just informs me that you either aren’t able or do not wish to address the ‘wider point’. And wtf is tchotchkes anyhow? ”

    Seeing as you submarined the “wider point” at the top of the page by yourself, I didn’t really see the need. In fact, I’d say it is you trying to dodge the wider point — that what goes around will come around and, I am willing to wager, the Republicans are not as ready to receive the sort of petty treatment they are all too willing to dish out.

    Hint: Parity of respect is not going to be achieved through petty sniping and harassment. If anything, it will further cement the lines, bringing the “own goal” scoring into realms where it was not even considered.

    Tchotchkes, FYI, are knick-knacks — a “Chuck and Di” mug, a plaque from one’s regiment or organization, etc. Y’know, the sort of items that Republicans, in some cases, have been whinging about, causing tempests in teapots.

  • Doctor Who

    Paul and Pancho´s Horse

    As the IRA where wartime allies of Nazi Germany, one would expect you to leave the comments you have. Whataboutery taken to a different level.

    Hang your heads in shame fella´s.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Dread

    You assume quite a lot, how do you know that the complainer was a Republican? (we can all be pedantic, should we choose) Considering that all of your wisdom now seems to be aimed in their direction. In any event your strawman contribution really is struggling when you start getting pedantic about me claiming that *all* Republican memorials are in uncontentious places. Yet you don’t get around to recognising the difference between these outside spaces and where government employee’s work.

    Wonder why?

    And actually my ‘wider point’ was raised by others, I was merely exploring it, reasoning it out. Not to much ends in this conversation admittedly.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Doctor

    The western allies were allied with the Soviet Union, only a slightly less evil than Nazi Germany. Needs must all round eh, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “You assume quite a lot, how do you know that the complainer was a Republican? (we can all be pedantic, should we choose) Considering that all of your wisdom now seems to be aimed in their direction.”

    Not being omniscient, I must, perforce, must make some interpretations. Given the nature of the items challenge, who else would it be, Eoghan? Who else in Northern Ireland would be sufficiently petty to challenge the presence of a “Chuck and Di” mug?

    Prince Eoghan: “Yet you don’t get around to recognising the difference between these outside spaces and where government employee’s work. ”

    All are public spaces, Eoghan, be it a council office, a public playground or the right of way along the public street, your attempted obfuscations notwithstanding.

    I do note, however, you are no better at answering direct questions than you accuse others of being…

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Not being omniscient< < Au contraire! Not the way you come across at all. >>All are public spaces, Eoghan, be it a council office, a public playground or the right of way along the public street, your attempted obfuscations notwithstanding.< < Aye obfuscation sums that explanation up nicely. >>Who else in Northern Ireland would be sufficiently petty to challenge the presence of a “Chuck and Di” mug?<< Now, now if your level of understanding of the Limavady situation reaches these great heights no wonder you don't get the points raised by myself and others

  • Doctor Who

    Prince

    “The western allies were allied with the Soviet Union, only a slightly less evil than Nazi Germany. Needs must all round eh, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that.”

    Please remember that although the Irish Free State was neutral during the war 39,000 of it´s citizens still chose to join uo with British forces to defeat Nazi Germany. Yes the Soviet Union was allied by a common enenmy but such a flippant cliche does not excuse allying with the most evil regime in history, especially when their fellow countrymen where giving their lives to defeat it.

    Strange you think it does.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Dr Who, you have slyly brought the IRA into the equation. Who mentioned them? WE discussed firemen,dead civilians, pitchfork murderers, German civilians and people who complained about a montage on the wall. No one mentioned the IRA. And I’ll tell you who would be offended by a Charles (adulterer) and Diana (adulterer) mug …. anybody with a grain of good taste!

  • Doctor Who

    Pancho´s Horse

    Of course the person and not the people (not plural) who was offended by a modest memorial to 11 butchered people was not a fully fledged republican IRA supporting weasel, and of course you´re not either pancho.

    It seems to have escaped you that it was the IRA who carried out the atrocity, but with the amount of revisionism recently in republican circles, perhaps you are going to tell me that the “Bratish empearial farces” committed the act.

    As for the mugs who cares, seems rather ironic however that you should be offended by such an object.

  • 0b101010

    Clearly because the UK bombed Dresden in 1945, the PIRA had every right to terrorize and murder their countrymen over decades. It’s infallible logic! Wait! Look over there, there’s something shiny! Let’s talk about the shiny thing…

  • Forecast

    Am fairly sure that “if” a small plaque and a photo was up in a Londonderry hospital/other public or civic building to commemorate the innocents of Bloody Sunday, not many people would would object.

    Imagine the wrath if one solitary Orangeman/unionist/protestant decided that he would be offended by this and so the NHS trust or whoever took it down.

    (Well, they were all taking part on an illegal march and fuckin rioting, surely they deserved it????)

  • Paul

    0b101010

    Regarding post 24, absolute nonsense. What the IRA did in Enniskillen was wrong, Republicans have admitted and accepted that. What I find incredulous is the tirade against the murder of innocent civilians perpetrated by the IRA but struck dumb when it is illustrated that those who remember fallen British Forces are simply one-sided, the genocide in Dresden and other massive losses of civilian life seems to be dismissed as ‘war’ CIVILIANS ARE CIVILIANS full stop.

    And Unionists have the bare-faced cheek to talk about IRA ‘genocide’.

    I do wonder at times if Remembrance Sunday is about about revering the day or giving you an opportunity to hang your heads in shame, to attone for the blessing you give on forces who have caused so many worldwide to suffer for so long.

  • DM

    Paul – and all of that has what to with the issue at hand, exactly?

  • Gander

    I at times wonder whether the republican MOPEfests at Bodenstown & Milltown are merely fronts for Gerry & Marty to give bad AIDS to the rest of the murdering scumbags.

    Just saying, like…

  • Paul

    DM was responding to Post 24 as i stated.

    Gander from what i can gather it’s Unionists who indulge in that, IRA ‘genocide’???

  • Gander

    Explains why the Beard went to Hughes’ funeral, Paul – Gerry’s always been partial to a bit of necrophilia…

  • DM

    Paul – seems to me post 24 was intended to mock the very whataboutery that you engage in with your post.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Doctor

    To sum up. I have no problem with this memorial plaque, or others. I do recognise the wider point however that they could, especially in a very immature society like the north of Ireland be used as a baton to beat people with. I think it would be interesting to know if say there was a bloody sunday plaque anywhere in Derry used by the emergency services.

    Re-The Soviet Union, believe me there is barely a baw-hair in terms of evil intent between the war era Soviets and Nazi’s. Sure the Nazi’s win because we know all about their deeds, however a quick investigation would reveal that the Soviets were only just a lesser evil. And longer lasting btw!

  • Wilde Rover

    Dr Who,

    “It seems to have escaped you that it was the IRA who carried out the atrocity, but with the amount of revisionism recently in republican circles, perhaps you are going to tell me that the “Bratish empearial farces” committed the act.”

    It is clear that this attack on civilians was an act of terror, and there is no evidence to indicate that it was carried out by “Bratish empearial farces”

    However, you seem to be espousing a form of counter-revisionism that would see the Omagh bombing as an act of terror committed solely by “dissidents” rather than agents of the state, and by extension the two British soldiers arrested in Basra in 2005 dressed as Arabs driving a car laden with explosives after shooting a policeman were merely temporarily insane.

    Unionism had no problem with revisionism when it meant republicans removing rose tinted glasses and the clearing of the Celtic mists, but it seems that it is exceedingly problematic when it comes to the dark underbelly of their precious Kingdom.

    Of course it is said that one of the most horrifying things one can do is look into the deep recesses of ones own soul.

  • sevenmagpies

    Paul

    “the genocide in Dresden and other massive losses of civilian life seems to be dismissed as ‘war’ CIVILIANS ARE CIVILIANS full stop.”

    The high levels of civilian casualties during the massed bombing raids of the second world war (about 30,000 at Dresden alone) are exactly why the Geneva Conventions were subsequently improved by the application of Additional Protocols that made such attacks a breach of international humanitarian law. Until then, the Geneva Conventions were mainly concerned with the treatment of combatants, civilians were a side issue.

    Prior to that point deliberate bombing of civilian targets was regarded as perfectly acceptable and was indeed the clear strategy of all sides in the conflict – hence the fire-bombing of London or the Hiroshima bomb. The Dresden bombing, a combined US/UK mission, was carried out according to the rules of war as they stood at the time: the attack was no different in intent and scale to numerous other attacks, it was an attack against a ‘defended town’, it had a clear military objective (a strike against german industry and transport infrastructure in support of the russian advance), civilian casualties were not regarded as excessive compared to the military advantage to be gained (complete destruction of the last remnants of german industry and no chance of equipping a counter-attack against the russians). None of this would be allowed after the GC/AP came into force (although I should add a slight qualifier about US forces inventing the category of ‘dual use’ so that they can continue to bomb civilian targets and claim that these were secretly military installations or served some specific military purpose).

    In short, times change, and one tends to hope that they generally improve. Things that were considered acceptable in the past (just like slavery, torture, bigotry) are best left in the past.

    On the wider issue of the plaque, it seems a curious thing to regard as some kind of political emblem. What kind of politics does it represent?

  • willowfield

    Sevenmagpies

    Interesting post.

    May I ask you a question?

    Am I correct in saying that the Nuremberg Tribunal was established to try Nazi war criminals on charges in relation to new crimes that were established only after the war (e.g. “war of aggression”) and, therefore, are an example of the retrospective application of law?

  • sevenmagpies

    Willowfield,

    As far as I am aware, the notion of ‘crimes against peace’ and similar laws were already well understood before Nuremberg. The Tribunal simply ratified/incorporated existing treaties into a specific law. I don’t think any of the participants were in any doubt that invading other countries was regarded as a Bad Thing. iirc Russia had already been thrown out of the League of Nations for pursuing an ‘aggressive’ war against Finland.

  • willowfield

    Thanks … it was a case of formalising customary law?

  • sevenmagpies

    Yes. I think I have come with a more succinct way to explain it compared to my previous attempt: the particular crimes were old, the specific laws were new.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “I do recognise the wider point however that they could, especially in a very immature society like the north of Ireland be used as a baton to beat people with.”

    Mayhap, but so is the current “solution” of threatening bureaucratic (and, presumably, some flavor of legal) mayhem is likewise being used as a baton to beat people.

    Ergo, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t. And this will descend into tit-for-tat sniping if allowed to continue.

    I would posit out that the proper response, if the Republican goal is honestly a “parity of self-esteem” — the proper solution would be the addition of Republican symbols and attempt an environment of mutual tolerance, as opposed to creating a homogenous, acrimonious and sterile environment, purged of any sort of individual or group symbols.

    But that’s just grown-up thinking. Not sure of an “immature” Northern Ireland.

    Prince Eoghan: “Re-The Soviet Union, believe me there is barely a baw-hair in terms of evil intent between the war era Soviets and Nazi’s. Sure the Nazi’s win because we know all about their deeds, however a quick investigation would reveal that the Soviets were only just a lesser evil. And longer lasting btw! ”

    Actually, simply a bare knowledge of history is enough to reveal that — the purges, the Ukranian famine, Katyn Wood, etc. And, frankly, had Uncle Joe been friskier than his neighbor earlier, the alliances very well might have been different.

    As for longer lasting… no need to gild the lily, PE. Of *course* the SU lasted longer that the Third Reich, what with, like, the war and all.