Sinn Fein Protest (Quelle surprise)

Sinn Fein’s position over the home coming parade has been analysed and discussed in withering, nay tedious, detail. In the absence of much else happening politically it has been the most interesting (and hence, the most over covered) event recently; apart of course from various BBC presenters and their behaviour. In the absence of much else to talk about and since I have not blogged for a while (due to a computer fatality) I thought I might add my tuppence worth.The most surprising thing about the controversy has been the fact that people seem surprised that Sinn Fein has done this. What do people really expect of them? Suggestions that we should have moved beyond events like this are naïve in the extreme. Sinn Fein is of course a political party. It also more than that; it is a part of a “movement.” Things like “movements” need to do stuff like protesting and furthermore to protest against the home coming parade makes perfect sense from their position.

To object to the parade has many very positive aspects for SF: It allows them to antagonise the overwhelming majority of the unionist community yet pretend to allay themselves with the broader progressive left, many of whom oppose the war in Iraq. Conflating the war in Iraq which was controversial from its inception with the war in Afghanistan is of course an extremely common tendency and one by no means limited to SF. It is, however, worth remembering that very few voices were raised against toppling the beheading, limb amputating, and women suppressing Taliban as compared to the opposition to the invasion of the WMD-less Iraq (a secular nasty dictatorship which just happened to be run by a Muslim).

Attacking the army either physically or otherwise has of course always been very popular with republicans. The fact that the overwhelming majority of these soldiers are actually from Northern Ireland and are probably mostly Protestants allows that perfect combination for republicans of sectarian Prod bashing hiding behind opposition to the British army (how many times have we seen that, especially 21 years ago, with particularly brutal results). The fact that a significant number of the soldiers are not actually Protestants can of course be ignored, as can the fact that large numbers of these supposed imperialist aggressors are actually doctors and nurses who have been looking after the sick from all sides and none in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Whilst SF will claim to the “progressive left” that the opposition to the home coming parade is opposition to one of the most unpopular wars since Vietnam, they may well paint a different picture to their Irish American supporters (best not to do things a bit like the Phelps), just as they have painted a very different picture here. Adams is not alone in majoring on the unacceptability to republicans of the British army in the troubles and again conflating the two issues is as easy for republicans as it is useful for their aims.

In addition the rally and protest will give the republican base something fun to do on a boring November Sunday, especially one near the hated Remembrance Day. Keeping the grass roots happy and involved and making sure that they do not feel that the republican movement has lost its way has always seemed to be an overridingly important aim for Sinn Fein. The protest will be a most effective way of doing this and will demonstrate that it is not just éirígí and such like who are still interested in these sorts of protests. In this it is of course a bit like Martina Anderson and her “Standing up for Derry” earlier in the year. Like that episode it is also gaining additional public attention for one of Sinn Fein’s younger rising stars, in this case Paul Maskey, who seems to be the lead person for this latest episode.

This protest also has similarities with another Martina Anderson fronted episode: Unionist Engagement. Like the late lamented Unionist Engagement, this episode can be presented in a relatively favourable light to some liberals and those outside Northern Ireland. Just like unionist engagement, however, it is an event planned to antagonise unionists who have unsurprisingly risen to the bait: not to do so would have been completely impossible. Republicans can then play the injured party and denounce unionists for opposing their freedom of speech. The storm of protest about SF’s plans from practically all sections of unionism and from many outside it simply helps the republicans in this game. At the event itself, if there is any violence SF can denounce unionist aggression and no doubt police brutality. Even if there are no problems there will undoubtedly be claims of “intimidation” of various sorts. If republicans cause any trouble their actions can of course be explained as “provoked”, if they cause none it will demonstrate their “reasonableness” in the face of provocation.

Again like unionist engagement any opposition to or concern about the parade from any unionists or others can be presented as showing how supposedly divided unionists are, how bigoted those taking part in the homecoming parade and their supporters are and hence, how completely reasonable SF are in protesting. The suggestion by a Presbyterian minister who was with the forces that a service would have been more appropriate fits perfectly with the divided unionists narrative and chimes with Adams’s supposed “reasonableness” in suggesting something other than a parade.

The only surprising thing in all this is the surprise and anger from many that SF are doing what they are doing. Some might like to believe that SF have “had manners put on them” and are now “house trained” or have “moved on.” Episodes such as this merely show that SF are as clever as they have always been and are still hold to exactly the same world view. After Sunday, however, I am sure there will be a bit of denouncing and complaining from the likes of the DUP, along with the suggestion that SF are now reduced to only being able to complain and cause minor trouble like this; such is the completeness of the supposed DUP victory scored at St. Andrews. That of course fits perfectly with the DUP’s narrative.

  • picador

    The parade is on Sunday, not Saturday, Turgon.

    Has it ever occurred to you that a lot of people in Belfast are genuinely outraged that unionists and the British Army have arranged a war glorification parade in the centre of their town?

    When Britian invaded Afghanistan and Iraq they were NOT doing it on behalf of Irish people. This should be abundantly clear after Sunday, lest there be any doubt. We do not wish to be associated with these colonial misadventures.

    Secondly, the British military and their adjuncts have been responsible for waging a campaign of terrorism against civilians in this city over a period of thirty years. Those of us who lived through that awful time are disgusted to see this most arrogant and heartless of organisations being invited to parade through the city streets. The British Army will never be welcome in Belfast. That will also be clear after Sunday.

  • Driftwood

    Turgon
    If a US army unit was to join this event, SF would be head over heels to avoid affecting US opinion. Now that they have allied themselves with the Taliban odes well for Sunday. The American public can see what they stand for.
    Great stuff, I am looking forward to Sunday.

  • “Mr Latimer had previously said that homecoming parades should go ahead but that they should not be used as a “political football”.”

    Turgon, why do you suppose David changed his mind? Could it have anything to do with possible negative reaction in his home city: Derry?

  • KieranJ

    “The American public can see what they stand for.”

    Well, I’m part of the American public and I can tell you that these bums who are going to parade in British uniforms on Irish soil are lowlife mercenaries who are responsible for raping and murdering young Iraqi and Afghan girls.

    When the bloodshed begins on Sunday, you can be sure these criminals in uniform will be the first to scatter.

  • picador

    If a US army unit was to join this event, SF would be head over heels to avoid affecting US opinion. Now that they have allied themselves with the Taliban odes well for Sunday. The American public can see what they stand for.
    Great stuff, I am looking forward to Sunday.

    And I’m looking forward to Tuesday. President-Elect Obama is an intelligent and humane man, unlike the present idiot.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘It also more than that; it is a part of a “movement.”’

    The same could be said for all the unionist parties, although the proper terminology might be ‘part of a stagnation’.

    ‘To object to the parade has many very positive aspects for SF: It allows them to antagonise the overwhelming majority of the unionist community..’

    Right, and what do you think holding such a parade does to the overwhelming majority of nationalists?

    ‘The fact that a significant number of the soldiers are not actually Protestants can of course be ignored..’

    Unfortunately Turgon this is where history makes your cheap attempt at point scoring null and void. If you wish to examine who cares about creed the most I suggest you look closer to home.

    As was expected Turgon, one thing missing from your thoughts was the plain simple fact, that the irish/catholic/nationalist/green….half of our society is indeed perfetly valid in holding the view it holds of the british armed forces in Ireland. Namely that it is one tainted by murder, dispossesion and mayhem. Don’t be naive in thinking the ‘Troubles’ are the be all and end all. They are but a symptom of the colonial laboratory which Ireland was for the british. By virtue of the fact you have not mentioned the legitimate greivances the nationalist community has with the british army, you merely pander to your own tribe and I had a rather higher estimate of you than that !

  • Turgon

    picador,
    Apologies, I have changed it to Sunday. I am not sure how that one slipped through.

    I do find your description of the parade most interesting. Tell me what do you think of the glorification of a group of 14 people who attacked three police officers on a New Year’s Day. I am sure that is different though isn’t it?

  • Driftwood

    picador
    Good that you and i agree, and President elect Obama, on the need for NATO forces in Afghanistan.
    Where abouts will you be on the heroes homecoming?

  • Intelligence Insider

    Why do some nationalists insist on referring to this parade as some sort of unionist parade or celebration of either the war in Iraq or Afghanistan? It is absolutely nothing of the sort. It is a welcome home parade for those soldiers of the Royal Irish who have risked their lives in battlefields in foriegn lands. Some of those being welcomed home will be Irish citizens, I’m sure they will be proud of how their so-called republican friends welcome them home.

    As for Al-quaeda and Taliban apologist KieranJ, well, I’m sure he knows a lot about rape, murder and bloodshed.

  • Observer

    KieranJ

    What a sad and pathetic little posting. If as you claim you are part of the American public, which I suspect is one big lie, would you have the balls to say to your fellow countrymen and women that American service men and women are lowlife mercenaries who have murdered and raped young Iraqi and Afghan girls? They did fight along side the British troops after all. American…good, British….bad. A British soldier would have more courage and humanity than you have in the tip of your little finger. If you have nothing sensible to offer why don’t you just get off to bed.

    Picador.

    Another sad individual. You have forgotten that your community were well pleased to see the Brits arrive in Belfast in 1969. Short memory!! How many Brits did your friends in the IRA kill over the following thirty years while skulking behind hedges? How many Catholics did the brave freedom fighters and defenders of Republicism kill?

    Postings like this make me feel that efforts that I have made in a personal capacity to move on have been a total waste of time. With people like these two bumpers out there
    I wonder why I try to mend bridges.

  • KieranJ

    “Some of those being welcomed home will be Irish citizens”

    Any Irish “citizen” who marches in that parade should be considered a traitor to and an enemy of Ireland. His name should be taken down and noted well.

  • KieranJ

    I am a three year veteran of the United States Army to include an eighteen month tour of duty along the DMZ(Demilitarized Zone)in Korea. I am also a recipient of the Purple Heart.

    Where did you serve?

  • picador

    Turgon

    I have no idea to what you refer. Are you trying to engage in a spot of whataboutery? I am not biting. I gave you my view on the parade and that’s it.

    Observer

    You have forgotten that your community were well pleased to see the Brits arrive in Belfast in 1969.

    I have forgotten because I wasn’t born at the time. And please don’t assume anything about my community background. Cos you might be wrong.

  • Observer

    I hope that the quite disgraceful and threatening posting at number eleven is removed immediately. This sort of filth does the reputation of Slugger no good.

  • Observer

    Picador

    You claimed to have lived through the troubles but now you are saying that you weren’t born then.
    Its one or the other. You can’t have it both ways!
    Too much exposure to songs of republican glorification.

  • Ri Na Deise

    Jeez ye really go in for the whole right wing if you dont support ‘the boys’ you’re Al-Qaeda crap dont ye.

    Shower of deluded state lapdogs. Dont forget to tip the hat real low for Lizzys bitches on Sunday.

  • picador

    Observer

    You claimed to have lived through the troubles but now you are saying that you weren’t born then.

    then = 1969

    The clue is that I was born after 1969.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Turgon is a fundalmentalist religious sort of chap. He’s ever so nice and polite, and an archetypal middle class ‘British’ person living in NI. Turgon should be respected for what he is and what he says says, even if one disagrees with his opinion…. or detects an error in his viewpoints.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    says says says…take your pick!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Why has the Irish Republican movement been hijacked by beligerant juvenile selfish cunts in NI?

    Can you explain Turgon? Will your ‘Jesus Christ’ god person tell you so?

    And as a ‘Christian’, will you please pray for all us sinners.
    Please be a ‘Christian’, and pray for all the misguided protesters on Sunday!

  • Reserved

    Observer: “…Postings like this make me feel that efforts that I have made in a personal capacity to move on have been a total waste of time…” What an extremely odd thing to say on so many levels. Yeph, if I were you Observer I would be happy that my preconceptions of the other communities in Ireland had been proved by a posting on Slugger O’Toole. Ah the joys bigotry brings are so much greater than those of tolerance, an aspiration to understand and being a good person.

  • ggn

    Do people think that Irish Military Intelligence dont take a note of Irish Citizens how serve in foriegn armies and who to swear allegience to another state?

    How could an individual who has openly declared their allegience to Britian be trusted at the upper echlons of the Irish civil service for example?

    All states do this in order to protect their interests, it is hardly extreme.

  • fair_deal

    picador

    “in the centre of their town?”

    It’s my town too

  • ggn

    Turgon,

    “The fact that a significant number of the soldiers are not actually Protestants can of course be ignored”

    Do you think it matters to Sinn Fein what religon the soldiers in question are?

  • Turgon

    ggn,
    Fair point, I suspect SF leaders are not taht bothered about the religion of the marchers. To them and the hangers on any Roman Catholic members are probably what one might call “Dishonorary Prods.”

    Of course throughout the troubles, the IRA were particularly keen on murdering Roman Catholic police officers etc. so maybe they hate “their own” whom they see as having “sold out” even more?

  • ggn

    Turgon,

    “Roman Catholic members are probably what one might call “Dishonorary Prods.” ”

    You are a relgious person who clearly interprets much through religon.

    I doubt if the term ‘dishonorary prods’ will enter into anyting. The term British Army would suffice for the majority of Nationalists in my view.

  • iluvni

    What a disgrace that Slugger has let the filth and threats from KieranJ remain.

  • pat

    ‘What a disgrace that Slugger has let the filth and threats from KieranJ remain.’

    Could be worse illuvni

    He could have been making false allegations about some kid on a talent show, as a way of pushing some narrow sectarian viewpoint.

  • Turgon:
    “The most surprising thing about the controversy has been the fact that people seem surprised that Sinn Fein has done this.”

    That of course is the jewel in all of this and where i think the DUP are on a winner…

    Sinn Fein aren’t supposed to be doing this sort of thing now remember!

    Marty hasn’t given a “lets move forward together” speech in a while has he???

    They appear to be trying (much like an old Ulster Bus) to get the country into reverse gear.

    Grind clunk grind clunk….

  • Bartleby

    No matter what your opinion of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and mine does not differ from the majority of the public – these guys were doing their job. They were putting their life on the line on a daily basis. To deny them the well-wishes of people who are glad to see them home safe is childish. I have often wondered personally how many of us would go to war in another global conflict if the draft were re-instated. These guys go willingly and should be supported no matter what your opinion of the wars.

  • Steve

    The real jewel here is that so many oonionists seemed to think that because the republicans agreed to go into government that they have changed their goals or plans.

    They arent in the tent pissing out they opened the flap and are pissing in the tent instead of on it

  • Democratic

    “They arent in the tent pissing out they opened the flap and are pissing in the tent instead of on it”

    I think it pretty apparent Steve that the DUP know this and their current tactics reflect their ideas on how to deal with the Sinn Fein trojan horse strategy…
    To summarise the prods just may not be as stupid as you like to think – if it pleases you to underestimate though – be my guest….

  • Democratic

    Did no-one else find the story of KieranJ’s impressive military history as fascinating as I did? A purple heart eh…….I wonder what grevious wound he received to warrant it and how he got the wound? – go on give us the story KieranJ….

  • Steve “The real jewel here is that so many oonionists seemed to think that because the republicans agreed to go into government that they have changed their goals or plans.”

    No, for the first time i think we’re seeing a DUP who realise that you cannot outrightly change an opponents point of view – rather you can, by a little strategic thinking and gaming, make the foundations on which your opponents base their arguments crumble a little…..

    hence the current sinn fein stormont squirm.

    The dup don’t appear to be saying “look we don’t want you to even ‘think’ about a united Ireland” – they seem to be saying – “yea sure – hold those views but here’s the reality – credit crunch, measures needed for elderly, business crisis etc etc lets get on with running Northern Ireland.”

    Used to be the DUP would have almost self destructed at what sinn fein plan on sunday – but hey let them have their protest – its their own position they’re diminishing…

    Prods aren’t fully used to a strategy yet – but they’re coming along….

  • jamoose

    KeironJ — “I am a three year veteran of the United States Army to include an eighteen month tour of duty along the DMZ(Demilitarized Zone)in Korea.”

    Ever been in a militarized zone?

  • ggn

    One of the things I have learned from Turgon’s post and from listening to Talkback today is that it seems to me that for unionism religon is clearly more important to politics than it is for nationalist in the modern age.

    Commentator after commentator makes the point tha ‘both sides’ are represented as some soldiers may be Catholic.

    I for one cant see both sides in that frankly, I mean for ‘both sides’ to be represented that nationalists would be taking part in the parade but as that would be a contradiction in terms, given the oath to the Queen of England, how is that possible.

    But clearly, for many unionists, the presence of Catholics makes a thing from ‘both sides’. Interesting.

    By that logic republican paramilitaties could claim to be of ‘both sides’ due to having the occasional protestant member. Strange.

    In addition, remembering well UDR interference with Catholic masses I would wonder about the Catholics in the UDR.

  • Ri Na Deise

    Good point ggn. Religion just isnt the same factor with nationalists. An Irishman serving in Her Majestys Forces is a traitor regardless of creed. What of atheists?

  • ggn

    Rí na Déise,

    “An Irishman serving in Her Majestys Forces is a traitor regardless of creed”

    But a traitor to what? Surely treachery is a matter for your own heart and conscience?

    If someone from say Dublin feels that their loyality is to the English Queen rather that the Irish Republic I dont think they could be regarded as a traitor for joining his or her’s own army.

    The question for me as an Irish citizen would be to what extent that individual could expect to be employed in the service of the state if their loyality to that state is superceded by loyality to the neighbouring one.

  • Steve

    for some people the army is just a job not a calling

  • Ri Na Deise

    To what extent could they be trusted in any walk of life ggn?

  • ggn

    Steve,

    I would have 1000 times more respect for someone who signs up out of loyality to Queen and country than someone who has no real loyaity to the British at all but who was just looking for ‘action’, which in the British Army often entails killing people.

    Rí na Deise,

    Well it wouldnt matter for getting a job in McDonalds!

  • One of the things I have learned from Turgon’s post and from listening to Talkback today is that it seems to me that for unionism religon is clearly more important to politics than it is for nationalist in the modern age.

    you only learned that today?

    the electoral advances of sinn fein whilst pursuing the ‘dual strategy’ compared with the electoral advances of the PUP would certainly tell you that religion is a factor for Unionist’s – they don’t condone terrorism.

  • iluvni

    False, pat?

  • Steve

    tell you that religion is a factor for Unionist’s – they don’t condone terrorism.

    Posted by a wile melee on Oct 31, 2008 @ 02:58 PM

    Since when?

    If the terrorists are wearing uniforms they not only condone it they send out chear leaders