Sweet Little Lies

CAPTION:Sinn Fein Election Cheer: ‘Tell me lies!’
Sinn Féin election workers rally in front of their bus shouting their election cheer

Drawing in a breath, this morning on Dublin radio, as reported by the Sunday Life, in a pre-election interview, Gerry Adams exhaled, relating a very detailed and sweet little story about his time in prison, when he and a 100 other prisoners would sing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life to each other in order to keep their spirits up. Adams, who famously holds fast to the claim he was never in the IRA, did time from 1973-1977, as an internee and then a sentenced prisoner (He also did a 6 month spell on remand in 1978). The song, from the Monty Python movie, “Life of Brian” wasn’t released until 1979. Mark Devenport diplomatically calls it a lapse in memory. But, as others have noted, Gerry Adams lies like the rest of breathe. The man just can’t help himself. Rusty, meanwhile, has the exclusive tongue-in-cheek report that the theme song on Sinn Féin’s election bus this year, as opposed to last time round, when it was The Talking Head’s Road to Nowhere, is Fleetwood Mac’s Little Lies. Adams leads the sing-song on the bus, taking the lead: “If I could turn the page, in time then I’d rearrange just a day or two,” while the rest of the candidates and electoral staff take the chorus of “Close my, close my, close my eyes,” then they all belt together: “Tell me lies, Tell me sweet little lies.” Rumours are they’ve won more than their fair share of karaoke contests in pubs along the way with that number…

Metamorphosis Of A Lie

In the 1996 edition of his autobiography Before the Dawn, in chapter ten, he describes being held on the remand wing in the H-Blocks in 1978 facing membership charges. (That would be membership of the IRA, not the NICRM, though he did beat the rap). He writes, starting on page 269: “One memorable night on the anniversary of internment there was a great session on on our wing that went on until the early hours of the morning.” At four in the morning, the prisoners made a loud racket imitating the banging of bin-lids, which attracted the attention of the screws, who came onto the wing in riot gear. The tension mounted while the prisoners waited to see what the screws would do; they eventually left after shouting abuse.

“I imagined I could hear a collective sigh of held breath being released as an eerie silence settled over the wing.
Suddenly a voice rose in song from one of the cells near me.
We’re on the one road, sharing the one load,
We’re on the road to God knows where…

The first was joined by another from a cell farther down the wing.
We’re on the one road, it may be the wrong road….
Then another and another.
But we’re together now, who cares…
And soon we were all singing.
Northmen, Southmen, comrades all
Dublin, Belfast, Cork or Donegal
We’re on the one road, swinging along,
singin’ a soldier’s song

By now everyone was in full voice, but as the chorus ended, the first singer took up a verse on his own.
The night is darkest just before the dawn
From dissension Ireland is reborn
Soon we´ll al united Irishmen
Make our land a nation once again

And then we were all back in for the chorus again. By the time we had the song finished our appetites had been whetted and our concert continued until some time after the light of dawn had entered our cells.

At HistoryForSale.com, a questionaire filled out by Gerry Adams, currently selling for $699.00, gives “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” as his favorite song. So we see this story change from 1996, when it was still appropriate for Gerry Adams, two years after the 1994 ceasefire and two years before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, to recall himself and fellow IRA prisoners singing rebel songs to mark the anniversary of internment.

In 2008/9 (and perhaps earlier), Adams has changed the story to himself and fellow prisoners singing songs to keep their spirits up after a beating – in the first story, the screws did not beat the prisoners. Internment is no longer remembered, much like it has been forgotten as the focus of the West Belfast Feile, which was started to mark Internment night and nowadays ensures everyone forgets it, and looks down their noses at any youths who dare to remember with the traditional bonfire. He has substitued the rebel songs for his own personal favorite song, and makes mention in the video of a song that had become associated with Sinn Fein, often played at their Ard Fheiseanna during the 90s, Labi Siffre’s “Something Inside So Strong” – an anti-Apartheid anthem released in 1987.

This little lie illuminates perfectly the evolving, self-serving propaganda narrative Adams has constructed for himself, with details changed as politics dictates. Who needs the truth, when he can provide a feel-good ‘happy ending’ in his loved-up folk tales? And so, the lies have bobbed and weaved throughout the years – but will catch up with him in the end.

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He’s been telling this lie at least since February 20, 2008

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