The corrective to a David Adams article on Thursday, from Adrian Guelke of Queen’s University, in today’s Irish Times letters page brings some welcome clarity to Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams’ recent invocation of Afrikaners. From Adrian Guelke
What Gerry Adams was doing in his New York speech was invoking a previous negative stereotype of Afrikaners to criticise people he considered hardline Unionists. A listener raised the use of negative stereotypes of other ethnic groups, such as the Serbs. I responded by noting that in the recent conflict between Georgia and Russia, the existence of a negative stereotype of the Russians dating from the Soviet era had made it easy for a number of Western politicians to blame Russia for a conflict that had in fact been initiated by Georgia. In saying sadly that this was the way of the world, I was not seeking to endorse such cynical exploitation of people’s prejudices but simply to acknowledge that demonisation of whole nations can be an effective political ploy. I was not saying I liked this reality.