Reason versus redundant militant rhetoric…

The news that someone has threatened the life of the deputy First Minister is a serious business. Just how serious it is impossible to tell. But Tom Kelly notes in his Irish News column that it is hardly news in the long scheme of things. Indeed he claims that threats on his own life came directly from members and supporters of the deputy First Minister’s own party in the past:

Back then some in Sinn Fein openly encouraged attacks on Policing Board members. Back then some of their less articulate followers, spurred on by careless rhetoric, took unilateral action, allowing Sinn Fein to escape their responsibilities.

Today, there is a wry pleasure in knowing that some of those doing the taunting now openly support the PSNI and serve on district policing partnerships. Others, such as the then Sinn Fein MLA, are no longer members of that party, having being dumped for not fitting in with Armani republicanism.

It is all too easy to forget in the West-Wing version of modern day Provisional revisionism that many in the SDLP bore the burden of attacks from militant republicans and loyalists. Nevertheless that was back then.

He goes on to note the sea change in Sinn Fein’s political outlook:

To maverick militants and old-style republicans the progressive and political maturity of the Sinn Fein leadership in abandoning militarism, supporting the police and signing up to devolution built on the principle of consent is not so much a U-turn as a sell-out.

That these dissidents are mistaken and that they have neither solutions nor support seems irrelevant amid the haze of perverted history handed down to them.

And finally:

Sinn Fein has taken to the road to explain its case to communities once enthralled with the kind of militant republican rhetoric which told The Irish Times in 1991 that “those who are left to finish the unfinished business will do so”.

In 2009, for Martin, his family and the rest of us, let’s hope that reason routs the legacy of redundant militant rhetoric.

  • spirit07

    Very strong article. The past is vey easily revised, reminders like this are necessary.

  • Rory Carr

    We can all jeer from the sidelines at the, “That was then, this is now” message being promoted by Sinn Féin but yet it remains that that was then and that this is now. It is now with which we must concern ourselves.

    The single concept that underpins both Buddhism and Marxism is that the only constant is change and it is change that has been embraced by the people of Ireland. Of course things could conceivably, although it is unlikely in my view, change yet again so that we revert to armed conflict and that possibilty is only aided by those voices that ever harken back to the past and fail to embrace all the possibilities inherent in that clichéd yet apposite term, the new dispensation.

    Tom Kelly at least, while entitled to his dig at past sins, is at least hard-headed, realistic and progressive enough to know which side of history he chooses to place himself in and like him I too “…hope that reason routs the legacy of redundant militant rhetoric” as, I trust do many of his (and your) readers.

  • Ian

    McGuinness never had any problem “executing” Irish language schools whether out of ignorance, stupidiy, sectarian bias, political expediency, or militant rehetoric.

  • redhugh78

    Poor Tom, he’s correct tho, that was ‘then’ and this is ‘now’.
    ‘Then’, people like Kelly were apologists for the sectarian paramilitary R.U.C. and they were willing to undermine Republicans and take whatever crumbs the unionists were prepared to give them, thank God we had people like Mc Guinness to show them up for what they were… STOOPS!.

  • TK

    RedHugh
    I am sympathetic to Martin and think he is being brave. But of those that I encountered most were nothing better than corner boys. Many genuine republicans thought ( and think) the same. But the some of the corner boys are still there and there is no escaping that. As for being an apologist for then then RUC – I admit that I am a reformist not a revolutionary but the latter are parked but with only the force of moral argument I was trying to stand up against police and a system that would not change but I was not in favour of shooting them and for that I make no apology.

  • redhugh78

    Tk,
    Corner boys maybe,care to elaborate?-forgive me if I am not sympathetic to your plight of, you were prepared to legitimise a totally discredited arm of british opression.You put your head in the sand to things such as collusion and shoot to kill.
    Ever hear the expression ‘long runs the fox’?

  • redhugh78

    Tk,
    Corner boys maybe,care to elaborate?-forgive me if I am not sympathetic to your plight of a few names and threats, you were prepared to legitimise a totally discredited arm of british opression.You put your head in the sand to things such as collusion and shoot to kill.
    Ever hear the expression ‘long runs the fox’?

  • redhugh78

    Tk,
    Corner boys maybe,care to elaborate?-forgive me if I am not sympathetic to your plight of a few names and threats, you were prepared to legitimise a totally discredited arm of british opression.You put your head in the sand to things such as collusion and shoot to kill.
    Ever hear the expression ‘long runs the fox’?