“The desire to hate and kill comes first, and then grubs around in the shit for its excuse”

Politicians really do depend upon the dynamic nature of news cycles to give the readers the slip at times of great political peril. In this respect the Sinn Fein we are being offered today (ie, Tuesday) is very different to the one on view last Saturday. Gerry Adams has since tried (unsuccessfully so far) to suggest the onset of this campaign was to do with the unaccountable nature of the SRR. David Aaronovich gets it in one:

Rubbish. Really, absolute rubbish. Such an assault is not set up in a couple of days or even weeks. You need the men, the cars, the weapons, the reconnaissance, the plan and the back-up. As the author Kevin Toolis said, this was not a whim, but rather “a bloody annunciation” to let everyone know that violent republicanism is back, in a new, potent, death-dealing guise.

Having dealt with the cant, he turns to the so-called target:

…was the Massereene Barracks. And the one thing that we know about that place is that it was due to close in 2010. They only had to wait a few months, and the occupying forces and their counter-revolutionary fast-food accomplices would have been gone. The hate object would have been removed.

That’s the clue. Hatred requires an object. It needs a Jew or a black or a Brit or a Papist, for your KKK man, your stormtrooper, your Gordon rioter or your green fascist to buttress the walls of their collapsing egos. As William Hazlitt put it in his 1826 essay, The Pleasure of Hating: “We have always a quantity of superfluous bile upon the stomach, and we wanted an object to let it out upon. How loath were we to give up our pious belief in ghosts and witches, because we liked to persecute the one, and frighten ourselves to death with the other!”

The shooting wasn’t designed to get rid of the British Army; it was designed to bring it back. It was the first atrocity in a desired new cycle of attacks, arrests, martyrdoms, bombings, internments, hunger strikes, funerals, orations, gun-runnings and crying children, which could return us to the Seventies, the golden time of death and certainty.

What do the Real IRA actually feel the compulsion to kill for? They have the vote, the right to speak, the right to argue. There are no B-Specials, there’s no more job discrimination, no more gerrymandering.

And he finishes:

If hatred is one pleasure, with grievances to be “nursed”, then violence is another. Think of those local hard men, once recipients of frightened glances and scared obsequiousness, having spent the past decade being just ordinary no-marks again. Think of them getting together with the young psycho, who is sitting at their corduroyed knee, learning the intoxicating vocabulary of killing. “Don’t you know that Che Guevara thought it was necessary to execute traitors himself? One shot, just here.” And you to fire it, Jamie.

These men, these hard men, lost in the era of peace. Unattractive men with bald heads and pallid skin and an inability to string five words together without inducing catatonia, can again imagine themselves to be Wolfe Tone or James Connolly reborn. Middle-aged matrons, brought up in the purple of Republicanism, but now with roots showing through the dye, can reconceive of themselves as Gaelic warrior queens, or bereted resistance Valkyries. It’s worth killing other people’s sons and daughters for this.

Last Saturday night, as the gunmen walked up to deliver the death shots – executing the wounded victims, because their terrible injuries were somehow insufficient and there must be funerals – what TV programme or movie did they imagine themselves to be in at that moment? The Sopranos, perhaps. And then, sometime later, a drink and black humour at the Real IRA equivalent of the Bada Bing.

Sometimes – often, perhaps – the grievance comes second. The desire to hate and kill comes first, and then grubs around in the shit for its excuse.

That would be hatred as the largely unspoken about element of the struggle

  • Dylan

    When any society creates an underclass (or sits back as one emerges) then it treads dangerous ground. Such an underclass exists in Craigavon (I live in that area myself) and in other “ghettos” – Strabane,N/W Belfast etc places left behind post-ceasefire, unemployment blackspots, single parent families, kids left on the outside of the education system who will never own a suit let alone a car or a house. Young people in Craigavon in particular have no sense of identity whatsoever, its a nowhere town that never really got going and doesn’t really exist, drugs, alcohol and sadly gang mentality are the only way out for so many there. In London young people get a gun or a knife and join a gang and kill in turf wars, because of the political situation here they join paramilitaries, or rather they are ruthlessly exploited by the leaders of such gangs. Perhaps if we as a society address the root causes of terrorism then we wont be locked in a vicious cycle. Suffice to say happy, well-off young men who grew up within a stable family structure in an area they could be proud of rarely shoot policemen.

  • picador

    A good piece by Aarnovitch.

    A lot of ‘the culprit as victim’ sociological nonsense in #1. I believe that Mohammed Atta, leader of the 9/11 hijackers, had a very middle-class upbringing in Cairo.

  • percy

    excellent piece:

    “think of them getting together with the young psycho, who is sitting at their corduroyed knee, learning the intoxicating vocabulary of killing”

    today the two arrests: 17 and 37 yr old man

  • Jimmy Sands

    It’s an intemperate rage-fueled rant. I love it.

  • 6 County Prod

    Misguided Irish Republicans are maintaining and strengthening their record of killing more Irish Catholics than either the Protestants or British, or maybe even both of them put together.

    I thought Marty was clear with his ‘betray’ comment. It’s now ‘them’ and ‘us’. Maybe something positive will actually come out of the last few days.

  • Aaronovich: “Rubbish. Really, absolute rubbish.” “this was not a whim”

    It may have been planned for years, waiting for a politically suitable moment to strike. The deployment of the SRR may have been the trigger to act.

    Aaronovich needs to drink some Ovaltine and get a good night’s sleep.

    And what’s this about ‘pizza collaborators’? Do we have any evidence that the pizza deliverers were actually targetted, or were they just caught in the crossfire? Do we actually know the details of exactly what happened and what the attackers’ intent was? Why does Aaronovich think he knows better?

  • It looks like Mr Aaronovich has a lot more in common with the RIRA than he realises judging by that ridiculous rant. I would say it is blatantly racist in both tone and content. What gives him the right to characterise the whole Irish conflict in the demeaning way he does. This goes beyond the RIRA. He refers to the last forty years here and the people who were involved, he probably maintains this racist notion of all Irish people going back 8oo years. His real targets here are the IRA and not the RIRA.
    Would he write about south africa in this way? The charming way that Mr Mandela and his friends in the ANC dealt with informants, the ‘necklace’ of the burning tyre, left to burn alive. Many scores if not hundreds met this fate. Or the fact that post apartheid many thousands of former ANC members have descented into uncontrolled murder and criminality, which is the south africa of today. Of course he wouldn’t!
    Would he describe the racist israeli soldier laughing as he bulldozes a palestinian home as a hate filled moron? Absolutely not!
    Then why does he feel comfortable in applying wholely unattainable moral standards to the conflict in ireland?
    He should cast that unrealistically critical eye on himself and his self-hating friends on this thread!!

  • Dr Raymond Cocteau

    6. The statement claiming responsibility quite specifically said that the pizza delivery men were a legitimate target since they were supporting the EvilBrits (TM).

    7. The article is a perfect arrow at those who loved “the armed struggle”. Perhaps that is why it hurts you so much.

    Consider this – it applies perfectly to the Loyalists as well.

  • Mike

    Aaron M

    “And what’s this about ‘pizza collaborators’? Do we have any evidence that the pizza deliverers were actually targetted, or were they just caught in the crossfire? Do we actually know the details of exactly what happened and what the attackers’ intent was? Why does Aaronovich think he knows better?”

    Ooh, I dunno, maybe it was the fact that the terrorists said they targetted them? *rolls eyes*

  • 8. I have no love whatsoever for armed struggle, and i don’t care if it perfectly applies to loyalists as well. You miss the whole point.
    Does it apply perfectly to englishmen who joined the british army….of course not!
    What is the criminality/murder rate of former british soldiers in britain after they hit civi-street? Extremely high if my memory serves me right.
    Not that the behaviour of the men in the british army over many hundreds of years empire building could possibly be characterised in such a racist manner as Mr Aaronovich stated,…no absolutely not!!!!!!!

  • shore road resident

    Hey Paul
    David Aaronovitch – white.
    Most Irish people – white.
    Therefore, rant is not racist.
    End of.
    I, on the other hand, think you’re a dumbass honky.

  • ed

    you can be white and be racist against other white people as white isn’t really a race its a colour or to be completly pendantic, a shade

  • NCM

    Sorry, all you guys in the 6 counties are total amateurs compared to us Americans when it comes to gun violence. 10 killed in Alabama in a single shooting spree, probably by a random nut.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/03/10/shooting.alabama/index.html

  • NCM

    Tolerate guns, hell, they’re worshipped here.

  • Simple question

    Well, one has to wonder would the average english person hate it if they had irish soldiers walking their streets or Gardai stopping them at checkpoints? This guy rants but doesn’t really analyse anything.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Well they had Irish so-called “soldiers” [ahem] for years doing considerably more than walking and I found them remarkably tolerant in the circumstances. Still I think you win MOPE of the day for that contribution.

  • Simple question

    I must have missed it when the Republic annexed part of England and garrisoned troops there. Or maybe the sock puppet is confused?

    Keyword = used

    Funny that.

  • Rory Carr

    The desire to file one’s column with any old shite comes first and then comes the grubbing around in the book of quotations for a suitable filler which is then embellished with as much florid imagery as one hopes the unwitting reader might bear.

    Who said it was easy being a journalist?

  • confused.ie

    “I thought Marty was clear with his ‘betray’ comment. ”

    Posted by 6 County Prod

    If you listen to his speech again he was about to say Scum, paused and then said traitor. so with that in mind he toned down his thoughts on the murderers.

  • Mike,
    Fair enough, you got me there! Seems as as rushed as Aaronovich, if not more so. Sorry all.

  • Reader

    Simple question: I must have missed it when the Republic annexed part of England and garrisoned troops there.
    There aren’t any English troops garrisoned in the Republic either.

  • papa_smurf

    On Mr Arseholeavitch: While at Manchester, he was a member of the 1975 University Challenge team that lost in the first round after answering most questions with the name of a revolutionary (“Trotsky”, “Lenin”, “Karl Marx” or “Che Guevara”)

    Oh dear.

    Of course, he’s also an out and out supporter of Israel so he really does have the moral fibre to comment on Ireland.