“sleep-walking into quiet censorship..”

Over at Typhoo’s Haunt there are readable scans of Malachi O’Doherty’s article in Fortnight magazine on talking, or not talking, about the Troubles and, in particular, whether “we are sleep-walking into quiet censorship of what led us into the troubles”. Go and read the whole thing. Here’s a short extract.

It’s not hard to see why the Troubles are an embarrassment. For one thing, they went on too long. They seemd to represent a society which was incapable of learning from the sensible and mannered intellectuals. The sensible and mannered intellectuals quickly ran out of things to say and concluded, therefore, that the violence was just an embarrassing lapse into barbarism. The North, as far as Dublin was concerned, was the attic in which the mad old uncle might be allowed to drink himself to death. But there is another reason. For although the Troubles went on too long, there is a prevailing idea that they ended too easily. But they ended. And maybe the best thing is not to scrutinise how they ended or test the compromises by which they ended, in case we bring them back.

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  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    You sure its ok to link to those scans? Not saying it isn’t.

  • Pete Baker

    I doubt that it’s a problem for anyone involved, Mark.

    If it is then I’m sure we’ll hear about it.

    Until then, go and read the whole thing.

  • Turgon

    Pete,
    Thank you very much for that. An interesting piece from O’Doherty; it almost makes me want to start buying Fortnight again.

  • Gerry lvs Castro

    I would fully agree Pete. The last year or so in Stormont has seen a tedious and depressing harkening back to the ‘troubles’, driven particularly (though not exclusively) by one particular party.
    Whether the thinking behind this is some form of revisionism or an attempt to placate the grass roots, the effect is entirely counter-productive as regards the future.

    The GFA and particularly the DUP/SF Stormont axis seemed to promise a new dawn of mutual respect and symbiosis. Instead, any initial optimism has been dashed against the rocks of revisionism, whataboutery and deadlocked inertia.
    Petty squabbles over emblems, language and even the words ‘Northern Ireland’ have reduced the whole thing to the level of the playground.

    I have no doubt that the vast majority in NI wish to move forward without constantly having tribal sectarianism dredged up by their supposed representatives at every opportunity.

    The war/conflict/troubles whatever are over. We don’t need to forget those who suffered, but neither do we need to rake up every anniversary, every incident, every dirty deal.
    Most expect their elected reps to look to the future, to sort out education, health, utilities, housing — not bicker pointlessly over the past.

    Unionism must accept that a sizeable chunk of NI’s population regard themselves as Irish and favour few if any links with Britain. Likewise Republicanism must accept that Unionists wish to remain within the UK and will continue to do so for the forseeable future.
    In essence, both these positions were accepted through the GFA. The DUP and SF have talked the talk but are not walking the walk.

    The troubles ended for several different reasons. But we don’t need to know. All we need know is that a staggeringly squalid and pointless era in our history is over and we must move on, whether we like it or not, together.
    Because let’s face it, Republicanism SF style is every bit as outdated in 21st century Ireland as Unionism is in 2008 Britain.
    Rather like two bitter enemies trapped for decades on a desert island, in a bizarre and rather depressing way, we were made for each other.

  • Mark McGregor

    Just did. It’s a good article but one that could be suffering from our usual problem – navel gazing.

    Generally there is a lack of serious analytic drama and fiction across a range of topics locally and globally. I can’t recall a day when examination of social issues was a staple of commissioning editors, though I hear the early 80s may have been better.

    TV is generally about fluff and nonsense, it’s no worse here than anywhere else and just as most networks aren’t buying examination of this islands difficulties they aren’t facing down other issues either.

    Though for someone with a product to punt maybe it is difficult to see the wood for the trees?

  • All content is copyright © Fortnight Publications Ltd

  • Pete Baker

    GlC

    “The troubles ended for several different reasons. But we don’t need to know.”

    That’s not Malachi’s point, nor is it one I agree with.

    I realise that the extract might make it look like that was the point, but it’s actually a description of the kind of quiet censorship Malachi is concerned about.

    Which is why it’s important to read the whole thing.

    Mark.

    I’d suggest that quiet censorship extends beyond those involved in creative arts.

  • Gerry lvs Castro

    ‘Which is why it’s important to read the whole thing.’

    I DID read the whole thing Pete and I stand by my earlier comments.

    The troubles ended (according to who you’re talking to) because:

    A. The provos felt that more could be achieved through the ballot box than through further violence.

    B. The provos had been fought to a standstill and wanted the best deal they could get.

    C. The Brits had so many informers and persauders that they were able to reel everyone in.

    Doubtless many can come up with scenarios D, E, F and beyond, but does it really matter?

    What is important is that they DID end, and we need to embrace the future.

    As regards Malachi’s ‘Give My Head Peace’ comment, the series ended because it had become completely crap.

  • Mark McGregor

    Pete,

    My point was the phenomena isn’t localised regardless of if its the arts, historical drama, documentary etc. TV is a mostly a dumbed down media and to portray that has some sort of ‘process’ plotting seems to me to be getting just a little anal. We don’t generally get them examining other potentially controversial issues. Raising our particular local issues without noting the general context they fall within could be, as I note above, a particular vendor not seeing the market isn’t buying many products in his broader arena as a personal slight it isn’t.

    Navel gazing.

  • Mark McGregor

    …and at this point Malachi and others should look up forget about their own wee local gripes, read Chomsky (or remember what they read) and see the media’s broader role in manufacturing consent and keeping everyone asleep.

  • “The GFA and particularly the DUP/SF Stormont axis seemed to promise a new dawn of mutual respect and symbiosis.”

    I don’t see how; two sow’s ears don’t a silk purse make 😉

    And for those sleeping at the back, 2016 is just around the corner …

  • DC

    I watched an interview with Paul Greengrass about how the impact of 9/11 has affected movie directors’ approaches to terrorism film production.

    Greengrass, who also made the United 93 re a 9/11 crash plane, tried to film and focus as far as possible on a truthful interpretation of events surrounding the flight, etc.

    From wiki:

    ‘The film attempts to recount with as much veracity as possible (there is a disclaimer that some imagination had to be used) and in real time (from the flight’s takeoff), what has come to be known in the United States as an iconic moment of heroism. According to the filmmakers, the film was made with the full cooperation of all the families of the passengers.[1’

    Already to which audience the film was sensitive over highlights the likely problems in the northern context.

    I think the problems rest with interpretation of local events and different values held which may explain why people did what they did. And there will be those who will view what the terrorists did on that plane as being heroes in contrast to Americans. But surely this is because terrorists are ignorant and arrogant and perhaps simple for using terror to depict a rather complex series of demands for change.

    But, in the end, a curtailed dramatisation of real events involving real deaths with relatives still around, perhaps with differing settled views, may well highlight the problem with handing over artistic license to document it.

    Strangely perhaps it might make us all more mature and stable if we were able to have the opportunity to view a portrayal of what was once a rather manic approach to a conservatively bleak northern way of life.

  • Mark McGregor

    DC,

    Your addition feeds into what Malachi misses. The media will not generally touch the controversial. An examination of the lives of the victims of 11/9 will never provide any enlightenment, an examination of the perpetrators lives may. When the MSM examines these recently harrowing subjects it can’t/doesn’t face the big questions. That is why I don’t buy Malachi’s analysis, this isn’t about the local it is about how television/MSM can sell it’s product and what Malachi thinks they should be commissioning doesn’t look attractive to the mass audience they’ve surveyed/focus grouped.

    So what? We force reality and controversy down their throats? We rebel against the media/arts establishment? Seems a crappy revolution to me if the real enemy is globalised consent manufacture. But, hey maybe a few Billy Boy plays would shake the system up……..

    And to be honest that’s the problem I see in this article, its about getting local commission instead of a broader global issue on running the establishment line.

  • Pete Baker

    Presumably, Mark, you’re referring to Manufacturing Consent.

    The simplistic argument that the adverse reaction to controversy is driven by a desire to create a stable, profitable, business is not entirely matched by any prolonged focus on the local details here.

    As evidenced by the interjections of political party leaders, journalists, and historians.

    There are also some interesting quotes, and link, referenced here

    “The historic meeting this week between Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams in Belfast, was a slap in the face to all the doomsayers, professional skeptics, perpetual pessimists and people who believe that what was is what will always be.”

    That’s forcing reality and controversy down their throats..

  • DC

    I think it seems to focus, in contrast, on the inability of intellectualism to effect change. And that intellectualism jarred with very stiff and very limited take on patriotic ideals. A mini-nazification situation of control of power and restrictions to certain freedoms to express a different cultural and political way of life to get change might be part of the problem but another part was that it wasn’t allowed to receive a dignified recognition.

    It was the classic two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right that has us all in a fright.

    Perhaps a higher culture could not flourish or collapsed because it was a very insecure Northern Ireland ill at ease with its basic identity smarting from the way in which it was constituted.

    What we got was imitation and distortion which is largely why representations of that should not be produced, unless it can some way show a mature yet radical parody of the past that leaves the viewer open to an understanding of the departure juncture into that bloody mess.

    It’s really showing us in the end that the truth lacks as to who we really are and why we disintegrated when allowed to fall on a very baron ground consisting of political and cultural sectarian interpretations. And those previous beliefs cannot be assimilated together politically today but can be knotted up at Stormont as it has been the two governments who have belatedly got together and upholstered the political landscape with certain fixtures to the tastes of the old belligerents. It was the sovereigns getting together that did it in the end, but America now plays its part. Re Greengrass.

    But still the local parties can’t explain how it happened because longstanding party ideology has been tinkered with almost invisibly. Yet we know the ‘culprits’. We undersold ourselves really to the limits of constitutional politics provoking heinous reactions. The imperfections of how Northern Ireland looks on a map has disfigured us all.

    Anyway, such a stance will always be subjective, like this is, and restricted to such a sphere of artistic license, impacted upon by directors and bigger influences from those with control of the strict corporate licence on how to do and make terror in the modern day will limit it further.

    The simple fact is the truth is out there but this is only one channel and medium in which to try and pull it together, but it is plagued with problems.

    Could be worth a try though.

  • Don’t mention the war – or the Blackside. My contacts tell me that the BBC have looked into the hole in the ground but the legal eagles excised it from one of their programmes. You might wonder why. Who were they protecting or who were they afraid of?

  • Rory

    Doherty’s mention, early on in his essay, of Sam Thomson’s play Over the Bridge and it’s subsequent rejection by the Group Theatre despite being championed by Jimmy Ellis fails to recall that the play was in fact broadcast live on television after it’s rejection (I cannot remember absolutely whether it was on BBC NI or the then young UTV, but I have a feeling it was the latter). Thomson stood as a Labour Party candidate against Brian Faulkner and Eddie McGrady in East Down shortly after and I, then a schoolboy, was one of his election workers. It was my first, but by no means last, taste of political failure and sharpened my appetite for more.

  • “The simple fact is the truth is out there”

    It may be out there but it would be very difficult to acquire. Anyway, who acts on the truth? Who would recognise it or believe it if it was presented to them? I’d have thought that our ‘truth’ would most likely be based on our perceptions and these in turn would be fuelled by our prejudices.

  • Gerry lvs Castro

    ”And for those sleeping at the back, 2016 is just around the corner …”

    Yawn.
    And apart from a few half-arsed attempts at remembering 1916, that would mean what exactly Nevin?

  • It doesn’t take much to start a major conflagration here, Gerry. Some might argue that the Troubles grew out of events surrounding the 50th anniversary commemoration.

  • DC

    Well Nevin your blog has shown new disclosures, people have read snippets on your blog and become informed with a proper sense of understanding. So, is the stuff on your blog pandering to the prejudiced to deliver for the same? New information and discussion has an impact which changes people.

    If acceptable positive interpretations from new info and circumstances can be made, especially under a better and more intelligible theory, and if it can be made sense of in the wider public and private sphere of life in Northern Ireland, then positive results can and should happen.

    The two sovereign powers to which people have been reduced to kill for have stepped in saying we are with you and things aren’t so bad so as to spill blood over a sense of belonging to us because they primed a now widely acceptable return of devolution.

    And people and politicians have acted upon this and looked at EU implications, hence what we see today up at Stormont.

    It hasn’t been perfect but neither is the past but it shows prejudices can be overcome when accepted influence is exerted and won over by a new joining philosophy. The new approaches are largely supported by people in Northern Ireland who want acceptable change in contrast to that environment of serial disputes leading to deaths that were incomprehensible in the voters’ minds.

    Headed up by the two sovereign governments and with the wider support via the EU and USA, who wants to go against representatives of the new world civilization, especially when fatalities have reduced and we understand to live to together and retain large parts of our intrinsic identities which are worth keeping in a changed set of circumstances.

    Hopefully more of the bad toxic stuff can be jettisoned due to lack of worth and with that new space can emerge creating a fertile ground for positive development of Northern Ireland and its people.

    We can only hope for a new confidence attained together or face insecurities, but certain political actors have a part to play and so far it hasn’t been that great; however, it’s still holding and thats enough.

  • Gerry lvs Castro

    Sorry Nevin I can’t get your links to work.
    Regarding your second post, there is absolutely no reason why the centenary commemorations should spark any violence at all. Why do you feel they would? And would you envisage similar dangers in the centenary of NI’s foundation in 2021?

  • Jo

    “Some might argue that the Troubles grew out of events surrounding the 50th anniversary commemoration.”

    No-one credible, or indeed, sane.

  • Sorry about the link, Gerry. I did a copy and paste but two brackets are getting stripped out in the process. Google with ‘wikipedia sam thompson writer’ and hopefully that will take you to the article about the two plays.

    “The television play Cemented with Love saw a return to controversy: a black comedy which deals with corrupt electoral practices including bribery, gerrymandering and personation, the play lambasts both Unionist and Nationalist parties”

    Sam was a socialist and socialists usually got squeezed/divided on the constitutional/border question.

  • Thanks, Jo!!

  • DC, AFAIK items on the NALIL blog are not dealing with any aspects of our contested political history.

    The blog reaches a very small audience. I had to approach the Blackside story with some caution as others I know have been fleeced with the aid of able solicitors and an apparently weak judicial process. This may explain why the BBC wouldn’t even handle the official information I’ve presented.

  • joeCanuck

    “Some might argue that the Troubles grew out of events surrounding the 50th anniversary commemoration.”

    No-one credible, or indeed, sane.
    Posted by Jo on Feb 27, 2008 @ 08:48 AM”

    I have seen this theory put forward on a number of occasions in the past (pre-blogging days) to explain that fear that republicans might use the event to cause havoc was what caused Gusty Spence to revive the UVF and start their killing spree.

  • “The two sovereign powers to which people have been reduced to kill for have stepped in saying we are with you”

    That wouldn’t be my perspective, DC. I’ve previously referred to nimbyism on the part of both London and Dublin. They’ve tolerated all manner of things in order to contain fascism and mafiaism to NI. I don’t think the rest of these islands would be too enthusiastic about having the Chuckle Brothers in power and local communities being ‘policed’ by paramilitary godfathers.

  • Joe, I based my own analysis on nationalist, unionist and socialist dimensions, not just nationalist and unionist ones.

    I’ve tried to find a quote from Terence O’Neill on the difficulties created for his ‘rapport’ with Dublin due to the 50th anniversary commemorations.

  • Garibaldy

    There is (or was it might be finished) a project being run jointly at QUB and UCD looking at the impact of the 1966 commemorations, and one of the themes was whether it was the starting point for the troubles, given the re-emergence of the UVF at the time.

  • Jo

    “fear that republicans might use the event to cause havoc was what caused Gusty Spence to revive the UVF and start their killing spree.

    Posted by joeCanuck on Feb 27, 2008 @ 09:33 AM”

    I honestly don’t think a drunken sectarian gang should have their culpability for murder mitigated in any way by the celebrations of 1916 100 miles away from the Shankill.

  • Garibaldy

    Ah Jo but there were celebrations in the north too, which is part of the point. Though I agree it’s silly to say that the Troubles began in 1966. We could move the dates back to the Paisly-inspired Divis Riots of 1964 if we want to go further back in the 1960s, though it seems to me it’s the police reaction in Derry in October 1968 that marks out the way ahead.

  • Jo

    I agree, Gari.

    Though I was very struck by how one man’s howling reaction to being struck in October 68, was in fact recently acknowledged by Ivan Cooper and Eamonn McCann to have been a complete act.

    “Did that play of mine send out
    Certain men the English shot”?

  • Garibaldy

    Yeah I saw that. Great TV though. And if the cops didn’t hit him, then they hit a hell of a lot of other people that day.

    What caused people to be shot though was unionism’s utter refusal to provide British rights for British citizens in a timely fashion. Had NICRA’s perfectly reasonable demands been met – either through local decisions or London applying its own laws properly – then we would have avoided all that followed.

  • “the police reaction in Derry in October 1968”

    cf police reaction in Dublin in 1966.

  • “Had NICRA’s perfectly reasonable demands been met”

    IIRC they didn’t include the RoI’s territorial claim and IIRC they failed to mention discrimination practised by non-unionists.

    Those who initiated NICRA IMO cynically used rights issues as a smokescreen for their intended all-island socialist revolution.

    Perhaps it was unfortunate that Lemass left office when he did. Neither O’Neill nor Lynch were much of a match for the hard men.

  • kensei

    Nevin

    Perhaps it was unfortunate that Lemass left office when he did. Neither O’Neill nor Lynch were much of a match for the hard men.

    And it may also have been that Lemass would have more directly intervened in August 1969 where Lynch held back.

  • Garibaldy

    Nevin,

    We can ceertainly take the line that all cops are far too fond of swinging the baton, especially against people opposed to the state.

    Nevertheless what makes October 1968 significant is the fact that it was the first of a pattern of repression against Civil Rights marches.

    NICRA’s programme would have ended all discrimination. Whether many of those involved wanted a socialist republic or not is irrelevant. Had these basic democratic demands been met in timely fashion, then there would have been no opportunity for the inter-communal violence that followed, and no fuel to sustain it for decades.

    The main point here is not whether people were attempting to exploit rights issues for other ends, but the existence of rights issues in the first place.

  • Jo

    “Those who initiated NICRA IMO cynically used rights issues as a smokescreen for their intended all-island socialist revolution”

    Only some of those in the organisation which was much less coherent and strageically planned than a lot of people muight see with hindsight.

    For instance, most of the NICRA didn’t want the Burntollet march to go ahead, to give the government a breather. Farrell, Devlin et al did want the march and deliberately (or more benignly) naively used the marching tactic for political ends in a way calculated to inflame.

    That marching or the right to march still has/had power to dictate events 30 years later, showed what was unleashed.

  • Gari, is it not also significant that the baton-swinging in Dublin wasn’t followed by international ‘outrage’?

    “Whether many of those involved wanted a socialist republic or not is irrelevant.”

    I think it’s relevant. It led to Dublin’s decision to ‘decapitate’ the then socialist leadership of the IRA, the very people who’d played a prominent part in the initiation of NICRA. Leaving us with the PRM.

    “NICRA’s programme would have ended all discrimination.”

    So why did it ignore examples of discrimination by non-unionists and the RoIs territorial claim? This was great fodder for the Paisleyites.

    “then there would have been no opportunity for the inter-communal violence that followed”

    NICRA and related parades were designed to be confrontational so it was hardly surprising that the events of the 1880s repeated themselves. Perhaps not enough people have read A T Q Stewart’s “Narrow Ground”.

  • Garibaldy

    Nevin,

    On the Dublin thing and the international media. I would guess it was because the people batoned there were not asking for basic civil rights in one of the world’s leading states.

    NCIRA was about achieving civil rights in NI. Which had nothing to do with Articles 2 and 3. One man, one vote, the reform of housing allocation would have ended any chance for anyone to discriminate. I agree that there were examples of discrimination practiced by non-unionists, but the main bulk of discrimination lay in the electoral system, dictated by Stormont. That’s what it focused on.

    On the parades, they were certainly intended to raise the profile of the issue, but whether they were intended as confrontational – and if so, who they intended to confront – is open to interpretation.

    On the tactics of civil rights protestors. We must remember that marches were tried after other tactics had failed. CSJ had been in touch with the British Prime Minister; the Campaign for Democracy in Ulster had lobbied Westminster MPs; repeated protestations were made to Stormont. And nothing was done. Lobbying on civil rights had been building for years before NICRA. NICRA itself was in existence for nearly two years before October 1968, which was a local march it supported. Neither London nor Stormont was ignorant of the issue before NICRA and associated groups put feet on streets.

    This boils down to a simple question. Should civil rights have been inaugurated or not? The answer is yes. It was the refusal to do so that led to all that followed.

  • Jo, some in NICRA didn’t want the earlier Dungannon march to go ahead.

    The tactics of the ‘revolution’ were spelt out by Sean Garland in June 1968 and they demonstrate the all-island nature of the campaign

  • Jo

    “Lobbying on civil rights had been building for years before NICRA.”

    And received a significant boost with Gerry Fitt’s election in 1966. It’s interesting to reflect what sort of movement could encompass the Rt Hon Fitt, Betty Sinclair, Austin Currie, Paddy O’Hanlon, Madge Davison, B. Devlin and M. Farrell – and remain coherent.

  • “This boils down to a simple question.”

    Nothing here is ever simple, Gari. IMO changes were needed, north and south, and they would best have been addressed by collaboration between Belfast and Dublin.

  • Garibaldy

    You may well be right Nevin. But there was no evidence that Stormont was prepared to change the voting system etc.

  • “and remain coherent.”

    It was essentially anti-unionist and perhaps anti-UK. It’s hardly surprising that it lacked coherency.

  • Jo

    “perhaps anti-UK”

    ..seeking UK standards of democracy to apply to all parts of the UK?

    How subversive! 😉

  • Gari, Faulkner, in his memoirs, claims that Nationalists didn’t become the official opposition party until 1965 and that a complete review of local government had been under way since 1966. He also claims that the latter detail was missing from NICRA leaflets.

    IIRC gerrymandering followed the decision of mainly nationalist councils to affiliate to the Dáil at the time of the formation of the two states.

    Hence, IMO the need for co-operative change, north and south.

  • Jo, you can read the subversive material in Garland’s speech 😉

    “British Rights for British Citizens” was a rather quaint slogan for a mainly Brit’s Out ‘brigade’.

  • Dewi

    “Mr. Currie: Where is this report from?

    Mr. Craig: It is from the United Irishman.

    Mr. Currie: A banned publication. May we see it too?”

    Loved that exchange re Sean Garland stuff – thanks Nefyn. Good blog and interesting Malachi article. One observation is that there is an enormous ammount of literature about the Troubles about and it must be a little irratating for people there that you expect a troubles theme for every bit of stuff produced there.
    I was on Youtube the other day looking at a video on tourism in Fermanagh (as you do) and one of the comments was something like “ain’t it great to have something about Northern Ireland that doesn’t involve the Troubles” Sympathy.

  • Jo

    However, the perception of being *anti-UK* does highlight an important difference between the US CR movement and the NI version.

    In no sense could the former be seen or presented as “anti-American” – its participants and leaders wanted only their equality as US citizens and wished not to overthrow any state.

    What they did want to overthrow was a highly racist structure, the parallels of which to NI were eagerly seized upon by local TV watching revolutionaries. Of whom there were quite a few. None of these realised how deeply beligerent hate-filled and violent was the regime to which many southern states black people were subjected. It was one nasty poisonous setup, which had lasted centuries and against which some of the repression seen here simply pales.

    These lived alongside and in some deeply sectarian and polarised communities. Not realising the power of sectarianism was something of which they should have taken cognisance.

  • Jo, I think it was pigs in the sky thinking that led socialists to imagine that they could easily separate either nationalists or unionists from their constitutional aspirations.

  • There’s some good stuff from the Dáil too for that period. It’s all online http://www.gov.ie

    Do they still burn houses in Wales? 😉

  • Just picked up this from the Dáil in 1970, Dewi:

    “R Barry: … In the opinion of most people the Government are inefficient, ineffectual, incompetent and irresponsible. The political events of the past week have been described here as sad, sordid and sorry. That alliteration, that description, is perfect. I should like to continue the alliteration and add to sad, sordid and sorry, shabby, sour, saucy, shameless, selfish, secret, sickening, sulky, smelly, sneaky, serpent-like seedy, surreptitious, senseless, scathing, spurious and shocking.”

    If only Stormont could aspire to such language!!

  • Jo

    “saucy”??

  • Greenflag

    ‘NICRA’s programme would have ended all discrimination.’

    Perhaps not all but it would have removed the worst aspects .

    ‘ Whether many of those involved wanted a socialist republic or not is irrelevant. Had these basic democratic demands been met in timely fashion, then there would have been no opportunity for the inter-communal violence that followed, and no fuel to sustain it for decades. ‘

    Absolutely .

    ‘The main point here is not whether people were attempting to exploit rights issues for other ends, but the existence of rights issues in the first place’

    Well yes , but given the manner in which ‘Unionists’ set up the NI State and the opposition of 35% of the new State’s population to a separate Northern State from the outset- then ‘rights issues’ were bound to emerge sooner or later . But when you don’t have a politcal opposition which can remove the ruling party from power then people give up on ‘constituional means’ and go for the gun. Once that road is travelled then it brings in reaction -counter reaction – until 40 years later you’re left with what you have . A Utopian State as per the literal meaning of the term .

    Unionist politicians were simply not up to the job . Some would say they still are’nt . Cometh the hour -cometh the man is a poor hope indeed .

    Since 1969 – 341,640 hours have elapsed and many wonder whether Unionism is still pondering it’s ‘navel’ or has turned right around to ponder it’s a***hole instead !

  • Greenflag

    ‘And maybe the best thing is not to scrutinise how they ended or test the compromises by which they ended, in case we bring them back.’

    They say that it’s best not to know how laws or sausages are made 🙂 I suspect the same is applicable as to how NI’s troubles have come to an apparent end .

    Flogging a dead horse is a waste of time but beating a sleeping rottweiler with a stick is not to be recommended !

  • Wee slabber

    I can’t believe it – even the history of the murders/bombings by the UVF in 1960s is being rewitten as a reaction to republican provocation! Poor Gusty and the boys, they couldn’t help themselves!

  • SlugFest

    Jo,

    “However, the perception of being *anti-UK* does highlight an important difference between the US CR movement and the NI version. In no sense could the former be seen or presented as “anti-American” – its participants and leaders wanted only their equality as US citizens and wished not to overthrow any state.”

    May I ask what benchmarks you’re using to determine whether an individual – or a movement as a whole – is anti-American (or anti-UK, etc.)? Does using physical force to further your message translate as anti?

    If so, what of all the splinter groups that rose out of American Civil Rights Movement (ACRM) movement:
    – The Black Panthers
    – The Chicago Seven
    – The SLA
    – Etc. etc.

    The ACRM should never have happened … equality, parity and justice should have been allotted to each and very citizen from the get go. That it was borne out of decades (centuries, really) of civil strife is a personal embarrassment to me as an American.

    But to deny that there were those whose frustration came to a boiling point – to pretend that there were those who would no longer wait patiently to acquire what should have been theirs so very long ago – to ignore the fact that there were those who turned to physical force to abolish and destroy the America they knew – that is a mistaken perception.

    And because of this, there are many people who see a strong correlation between the NI and American CRM.

    As Langston Hughes asked, “What happens to a dream deferred … does it explode?”

  • Some republican provocation, WS, but I’d have thought the main ‘provocation’ came from Paisley.

  • I’ve been wondering about ‘saucy’, Jo, and the only name that comes to mind is the late C J Haughey.

  • Dewi

    “Do they still burn houses in Wales? 😉 ”

    Only on my bad days. Which only happen when Wales lose to Ireland in Croke Park.

  • Dewi, here’s a Stormont quote that lacked a prophetic touch:

    Caledon squat: “I do not think the event in Caledon is a prelude to a renewal of strife. I believe this is an isolated incident that has been blown up out of context and importance.” William Fitzsimmons, Stormont Debate, 19 June 1968.

  • Dewi
  • Dewi, it would make more sense to put them at townland boundaries:

    Welcome to Drumlister/Farewell to Cullentra

  • aquifer

    “An examination of the lives of the victims of 11/9 will never provide any enlightenment, an examination of the perpetrators lives may.”

    This may say too much about a certain attitude to victims. I’d be amazed not to be amazed by some of the thousands of lives that were ended. I might only be shocked by the effect of brutal fanaticism on the wills of young men. Shock is usually a narrowing of focus, quite unlike enlightenment.

    So as far as the media are concerned, perps are bound to be more interesting? Why not, they provide the bloody package of imagery, they demand attention, gratitude even, from our media workers.

    Armed insurrection may have been a media spectacular, but it may have been utterly pointless in terms of promoting a unitary culturally irish state. The 32 county socialist stuff was just soldier speak for our gang in charge at the end.

    Violence does not prove injustice and may recreate it.

    And rump loyalism is as averse to reflection as it is to repentance. Imagining that they could deny catholic citizens of the British state their rights!??

    So whatever you do to schools Catriona, try to check that children understand causality and citizenship.

  • lib2016

    I’m trying, I’m honestly trying, not to post these days but one can only put up with so much re-writing of history. It’s over! There are no more recruits for the dead battalions. The blood’s running out in the dry sands of the desert or the mountains of Aghanistan and no-one will regret it.

    What a waste you all were!

  • Here’s a short item from the historical record that sort of debunks your ‘It’s over!’ claim, lib.

    “I am sorry to hear of so many of my countrymen being confined and some executed but the permissive will of God must be done. You are under the rod of affliction in a high degree and Oh! that it may be sanctified and improved. You must await with patience your deliverance (if not come before you receive this) it is fast hastening.” … John Nevin, 10 April 1804

    Those who launched the last crusade and those who reacted may have known little of our history and cared less but you can be sure that there are some in the new generation waiting in the wings to pick up the baton ….

  • Acquifer, I think we can make a reasonable assumption that Catriona will doggedly set citizenship in an ‘island of Ireland’ context irrespective of the the terms of the 1998 Agreement – or the aspirations of the citizens.