The Poppy and Irish Nationalism

Remembrance Sunday has arrived. Across the north, many will be gathering to pay tribute to dead soldiers of the two ‘great’ wars of the 20th century. Most of those gathering will also pay tribute to the dead RUC, UDR and British soldiers who were casualties of the conflict in Ireland from 1969, as well as British soldiers killed in other conflicts, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of those assembled will also be paying homage to those loyalist paramilitaries who died in the recent conflict in the north of Ireland (many of those gathered will certainly not be interested in incorporating the latter into ‘their’ remembrance services, and some may not be too keen on including those loyal to the Crown who fell in conflicts other than the two World Wars either.)
That is perhaps the most narrative-free comment (if there can be such a thing) that can be made on a day which many will naturally find an emotional one. However, given that the run up to this Remembrance Sunday has once again been marked by a campaign agitating for Nationalist Ireland to conform and pledge its allegiance to Britain’s official date of Remembrance, it is important to respond.
Those participating in the numerous Remembrance Day ceremonies across Ireland today are entitled to do so; indeed, as a republican I must state that one of the darkest days of the conflict was the Cenotaph bombing in Enniskillen which claimed so many lives as people were gathering to remember other lost lives. It was an appalling act in a conflict (like all conflicts) marked by many appalling deeds.
In Britain, the apparent increase in poppy wearing is no doubt linked to the now almost daily news of British soldiers being killed in the latest conflicts involving Britain’s soldiers. That is quite understandable. Some have even suggested that it could be a form of protest at the government policy decisions which led to those soldiers being sent to the very conflict zones from which many are now returning from in coffins. Perhaps that is true, though that presupposes a conscious effort on behalf of the populace to distinguish the soldier from the governing authority which could have repercussions for other remembrance dates (more on that later.)
Yet, as the Guardian has correctly noted, the demand for conformity is disturbing even within Britain, and, in our parochial context, betrays a desire to have a specific narrative legitimised above and beyond others.
The kneejerk unionist reaction to the decision by the Students’ Union at Coleraine to permit the sale of both Poppies and Easter Lilies from the Union shop was entirely predictable as it challenged the simplistic unionist narrative which elevates the commemoration of ‘their’ dead above all others.
That is nothing new. It has become something of an annual tradition for Irish people to be derided for not engaging in Britain’s Remembrance Day ceremonies, almost as if declining to do so was an incomprehensible action. Of course, there are Irish people who do choose to participate, overwhelmingly those identifying themselves as British and/or Northern Irish/Irish, as well as others from an Irish nationalist background who choose to partake in ceremonies which remember not just the dead of the Somme and D-Day, but also the members of the Black and Tans, Parachute Regiment, Black Watch and British Military Intelligence who gained notoriety for their deeds in twentieth century Ireland, as well as those who visited grief on the residents of Amritsar soon after the war to free small nations had concluded.
Some of those from a nationalist persuasion no doubt take the decision to distinguish in their minds the dead from the World Wars from those of others, perhaps choosing to ignore the wreaths commemorating others who wore the British uniforms; others might even take the more sober view that all soldiers are/ were humans, normally from the lower classes, victims of economic conscription as well as compulsory military conscription, all deserving acknowledgement for the manner in which their lives were taken from them.
But a more common reaction within Ireland is to acknowledge the importance of the date for those from a protestant/ unionist background in Ireland and, in the past two decades at least, to acknowledge the deaths of those Irishmen who donned the British uniforms for a variety of reasons during the two world wars, whilst declining to partake in an event which, after all, pays tribute to the very soldiers who implemented the policies and guaranteed the writ of the occupying British forces in Ireland throughout the centuries.
What is often conveniently forgotten in the charge to accuse Nationalist Ireland of not remembering the Irish dead of Britain’s wars in a more visible and pronounced manner is that Irish attitudes to remembrance are considerably more reserved than those of our British counterparts, whether the dead were fighting for Britain or for Ireland, by proxy or otherwise.
Whilst Irish republicans may don Easter lilies to remember our dead at Easter time, the overwhelming majority of Irishmen and women choose not to attach any badges to their lapels in Spring nor Autumn.
It has been suggested in the past that the muted nature of commemorations to celebrate independence in southern Ireland has been a consequence of the IRA’s campaign in since 1969. That may well form part of the answer.
But part of the answer can also be found in the fact that Irish people, unlike their British counterparts, know from their history about the complicated and ugly nature of war due to the legacy of conflict within this island, including the horrific civil war of the early 1920s.
The faces of the dead Asians, killed by Britain’s soldiers in the past decade, make at best a fleeting appearance on our television screens. We do not get to hear the widows (nor widowers) speak nor the children cry in our own language. We don’t hear the stories that turn the individuals from covered bodies into very human beings.
The legacy of conflict in Ireland in the twentieth century has been one that has removed any doubts about the horror of war and made it very difficult to romanticise conflict and indulge in the type of jingoistic, patriotic fervour commonly associated with the British tabloid press.
Nevertheless, the fact that Irish Nationalism has, over the past decade and more, made space for the remembrance of ‘their’ fallen in the two World Wars is to be welcomed. Sinn Fein has struck a chord amongst northern nationalists by choosing to acknowledge the sacrifice of these dead Irishmen in a separate display of remembrance involving the laying of a laurel wreath to mark the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. This has permitted Irish republicans to honour the Irish dead of the First World War without participating in official British ceremonies which require paying respect to Britain’s soldiers who republicans were at war with up to 15 years ago.
There have also been a number of other commemorations- organised by former loyalist leader, Glenn Barr- in which the Irish National flag has been flown alongside the Union Flag to signify that those killed in the First World War were from an Irish nationalist as well as unionist background. Such commemorations are to be welcomed as they take steps to remove the political baggage, recognising the complicated nature of Irish involvement in the world wars.
Of course, there has been a negative reaction from political unionism to these developments. Unionist opposition to this is not only hollow but ridiculous. After all, would they prefer republicans to dishonestly pretend to pay tribute to the very soldiers with whom they were- most recently- engaged in a conflict with for a quarter of a century? If the demand is for recognition of the sorry plight of the fallen soldier in isolation to the commands from his authorities, then does that not have consequences for unionist acknowledgment of the plight of the Irishmen and women who gave their lives for Irish freedom regardless of their hostility to those further up the chain of command?
Given that many of the earliest nominal Irish republicans were of staunch Ulster Protestant stock, then the charge to compel all to embrace Remembrance Sunday as a shared remembrance would logically also seek to demand unionist participation in commemorations remembering Irish republicans who died in the cause of Irish freedom. Food for thought indeed!

Remembrance, like so much else in Northern Ireland, is likely to remain a divisive issue for some time to come. But moves by Irish Nationalism to provide (within the Irish nationalist narrative) a space for unionism to commemorate its British war dead of all wars and to genuinely find a place for the Irish Nationalist casualties of the world wars is a progressive step. The poppy will remain what it is. Irish Nationalism should not, nor does it need to, embrace it: rather, it must simply continue to find a space for those who seek to embrace it within its vision of the future.

  • borderline

    nabidana,

    “I don’t know anyone who wants nationalists to wear a poppy”.

    You obviously don’t work in BBC NI. The message to Nationalist presenters there is:

    WEAR A POPPY OR FIND YOURSELF ANOTHER JOB

  • Brian MacAodh

    “I would like say that, whatever the rights and wrongs of war, men died in WWI for the freedom of the small nations of Europe and in WW2 for freedom from Nazi-ism and Fascism, that is freedom from a totalitarian mindset which does not tolerate diversity of opinion”

    WW I was not fought for the freedom of small nations. It was fought for imperial dominance. As for WWII.. too bad we abandoned half of Europe to live under a totalitarian government which did not tolerate diversity of opinion, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc.

    Anyway, this thread has been very entertaining.

  • Dave

    “By making a day of remembrance (preferably a non-working day since we have too many bank holidays as it is) to all who died in tragic events abroad, we don’t need to specify who is or is not included. It is all who died on foreign shores, and that’s that.” – Dave

    I’m actually quite impressed with my own suggestion, so I’ll expand on it. If Ireland had a nation day of remembrance for all members of the Irish nation who died on foreign shores, then the only common denominator would be the nationality of who is remembered with each person remembering whomever they choose for whatever reasons they choose. The state merely remembers its citizens, and makes no comment on any of them. In this way, we could remember our famine immigrants, along with those who died in foreign armies, et al, but the particular remembrance would be an individual act rather than a collective act, so those who don’t want to remember the those who died in the IDF (and they exist) or the British army do not have to remember and those who don’t want to remember the famine immigrants or something as particular as Irish holiday makers in China dying in a car crash do not have to.

    The main advantage of this day of remembrance is that it will kill off this irredentist crap that occurs every year. It can simply be pointed out that such remembrance already occurs. It will also give the Irish nation a day to remember those who left its shores and never returned through no choice of their own – or through such choice, if that is applicable to any particular privately remembered example. This bolsters Irish nationalism rather than, as is the ulterior purpose of the irredentists, defeats it.

  • Danny O’Connor

    The problem with this country is that things which ought to be apolitical have been politicised by one party or another.
    There seems to be a ridiculous attempt by the BBC and the likes to make people presenting tv programmes wear a poppy or shamrock ,which is bordering on fascism,(Jon Snow had a recent article on this).If people want to wear it – let them,but don’t take away the freedom that so many people died for.
    On St Patricks day I wear shamrock ,if I am attending a service of remembrance I wear a poppy ,there is a time and place for everything.I do not feel any less of an Irishman for choosing to respectfully remember those who died during the world wars. I would feel that the British legion could reach out more,it is no coincidence that many Catholics see remembrance as a Protestant thing because the services are always held in Protestant churches

  • What about?

    This is a breathtaking display in blogging whataboutery !

  • Brit

    This post has really brought out the worst in some of our Republican friends.

    “as a supporter of the state who continously colluded, armed, trained and supported unionist death squads I consider you just as guilty,” Fin

    An interesting take on ‘national guilt’ and moral responsibility. So any non-revolutionary American is guilty of the crimes of the CIA in Latin America, of US armed forces in Vietnam and the genocide of the native American indians? A German is guilty of the crimes of Hitler and possibly the Stasi? A British supporter the state is guilty of war crims in Dresden?

    “yes the IRA carried out some despicable acts, of which Enniskillen was one. Nobody in their right mind would defend it.”

    Step forward Gerry Mander. Tell me Gerry were you celebrating the death of 13 “imperialists” this weekend or is it only the murder of British people that excites you?

    “How many MILLIONS of Irish men and women have the British murdered over the centuries? How many millions of Indians? How many millions of Africans? Need I go on?” Ciaran

    The British state / armed forces etc did not murder millions of people.

    “his refusal to include Adolf, who possibly never killed a fly in his life.” Panchos Horse

    Hopefully the stupidity and moral imbecility of this comment does not need explaining to anyone with an IQ over 50

  • kensei

    Mick

    Are you the guy who argued on Slugger that it was okay to throw rocks at your betters?

    As I said, happy to stand for my own crimes. And by the by, I stopped throwing rocks due to the monumental shitstorms I just couldn’t be arsed dealing with that came as a result.

    So, given that: When did dictionary definition ad hominum attacks become acceptable? When did believing anyone was bad (or indeeed, any belief X) become a prerequisite to commenting on this site? Can you answer straight questions, Michael?

    Course, continue to make it about me if you wish. It’s your site you’re fucking up by allowing it. Really, little skin off my nose.

    Turgon

    Oh noes! I’m a bad man. Thing is, if you are going to behave like a child I’ll treat you like one, and no matter how bad a man I am, it still doesn’t make you right. And never will.

  • Turgon

    kensei,
    What an insightful argument. It is indeed difficult to answer. I suppose it is because I “behave like a child” though I always thought people were not meant to swear at and insult children. Oh dear there I am in the wrong again.

  • bollix

    The poor old poppy seems to have as many meanings as it has petals.
    1. I wear it because I support the imperialist British war machine responsible for slaughtering millions around the globe.
    2. I wear it to commemorate the war dead of all nations, to remember the futility of war.
    3. I wear it to support our boys currently fighting in iraq and afghanistan. They are lions lead by donkeys.
    4. I wear it to support our wars fought overseas to keep us safe.
    5. I wear it because i want to support the wounded soldiers of this and previous years, whatever the merits of the war, we should help those injured by it.
    6. i wear it to remember the irishmen of this and yesteryear to fought and died.
    7. i wear it to remember the brave british subjects who fought the nazi and fought the republican seeking to overthrow our country.
    8. i wear it to support the brave loyalists (modern uff / uda etc.) who continue the fight to defend our country.
    9. i wear it to show the catholics who is in charge (special NI prism through which every debate must be viewed).
    10. i wear it because i am a royalist and british and i support the royal british legion.

    It seems a little presumptious to tell someone else what is their motive in wearing the poppy – let them speak for themselves.

    I don’t wear it because i am not british and feel uncomfortable with the militaristic overtones to the poppy campaign. At the same time, i respect the right of others to wear it and think that it is a good thing for a nation to remember its soldiers. I think some of the comments here are disgraceful and deeply offensive. You may not agree with some of the poppy wearers, but don’t piss in their graves.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    “…happy to stand for my own crimes.”

    In other words you are hoisted by your own petard. You call for a ban on swear words, but are yourself the worst offender of the all the regulars. You call me to intervene on ad hominem attacks when you regularly attack others in those terms.

    As for personal stuff, I don’t stand for it, as will be obvious to anyone who reads my own contributions above and below the fold. I don’t do it, and I expect others to follow my example.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t believe that people should not be tough in contending with others with whom they profoundly disgree. The problem is setting a functional framework in which ‘deliberation’ can take place.

    In the new commenting rules, I think making it clear what constitutes unparliamentary language (specifically, one commenter calling another a liar) will help sharpen the perception of what legitimate contention means. Some functional incentives for those play by the rules so that they gain status/readership, as well as disincentives/punishments for those who break it will be necessary if we are going to clean up our act. Loss of anonymity privileges should probably be included within the deal from the offset.

    That said, emotions are bound to run high over this and other powerful topics. And all in all, amongst the man playing and whataboutery there are some very good contributions that might not have arisen under more sedate circumstances.

  • fair_deal

    I wonder if the republican dislike for the remembrance services is because they have developed into a reflective and reverential events as opposed to the celebrations of death that pass for republican commemorations e.g. Galbally.

  • Republic of Connaught

    The only reason there’s any issue about an Irish nationalist wearing a British Poppy is because Ireland doesn’t have its own remembrance symbol for Irishmen who died in various foreign wars.
    Many Irish people want to respect those dead Irishmen but see no means to do it besides wearing the Poppy, which of course isn’t Irish so shouldn’t be logiclly used here except by the minority Unionist population. The Irish state needs to fix this problem and there will be no future confusion.

    The escalation of the Poppy fascism in Britain at the moment, as commented on by Jon Snow, is of course because of British casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan. I pity the families of all those dead soldiers, especially those from the north of Ireland; but I find it offensive the British state still ignores the suffering their armed forces along with the Americans have inflicted on the Iraqi people.

    I hear little mention amid all the Poppy talk of those thousands of dead Iraqi people needlessly killed in the last eight years.

  • fin

    “An interesting take on ‘national guilt’ and moral responsibility. So any non-revolutionary American is guilty of the crimes of the CIA in Latin America, of US armed forces in Vietnam and the genocide of the native American indians? A German is guilty of the crimes of Hitler and possibly the Stasi? A British supporter the state is guilty of war crims in Dresden?”

    Brit, bang on the money. 100% what I meant.
    Who are the CIA accountable to?
    Who were the US troops in Vietnam accountable to?
    Who elected Hitler?
    Who wanted the Native Americans land?
    Who gave Bomber Harris his orders (incidently the Yanks bombed Dresden aswell)?

  • Brit

    “I hear little mention amid all the Poppy talk of those thousands of dead Iraqi people needlessly killed in the last eight years.”

    Needlessly killed in the main by outsider Islamists bent on destablisation and mass murder of those deemed infidels, by local Sunni supremacists and sectarian fundamentalists, by Shia militias and their supporters in Iran motivated by a desire to stamp their authority on the new country and to murder innocent Sunnis in revenge and by remnants of the Baathite apparatus who engaged in anti Kurdish and anti Shia violence.

    I think all normal and right thinking people including supporters of the war, think that these deaths are a tragedy and feel great sympathy and pity for the families left destroyed.

  • kensei

    Mick

    In other words you are hoisted by your own petard. You call for a ban on swear words, but are yourself the worst offender of the all the regulars. You call me to intervene on ad hominem attacks when you regularly attack others in those terms.

    No, Mick you are apparently confused. Or making shit up; who can tell? I’m most certainly not calling for a ban on swearing; I like swearing. Nor I do I care about a few people have the odd pop, I’m a big boy and normally take it as a little bit of banter where no one gets hurt. Poor Turgon doesn’t get how unseriously I take his ire.

    Anyhoo, somewhere along the line, you seem to have got into your head that’s what an ad hominem argument is; a few naughty words and the odd name calling. And technically, maybe, but they are fairly weak ones. What an ad hominem argument actually is, once again:

    Person 1 makes claim X
    There is something objectionable about Person 1
    Therefore claim X is false

    What Turgon is doing is continually yelling “Will you condem X? Will you condem Y? Terrorist Cheerleading! Terrorist Cheerleading”. And this regardless of the relation to the actual topic on hand. It is precisely trying to make out “There is something objectionable about perosn X” and discredit a person rather than an argument.

    And that’s what I have my beef with. Not naughty words, not a few names, the idea that in order to be considered worthy of debate or to have the points you say addressed on their merits, you have to pass some kind of morality test. I wasn’t aware that was the ethos of this site.

    But hey I’m hoisted, and therefore once again you don’t have to bother reading the words on the page, what the fuck do I know?

  • DaithiO

    I enjoyed Chris’s piece, just as I enjoy many pieces here that I wouldn’t necessary agree with, even sometimes some I’ve diametrically opposed. Slugger is great in that it gives us the chance to read an alternative viewpoint and debate the issues raised. Some people just abuse the priveledge Slugger allows us.

    Whataboutery doesn’t get close!

    Chris, clearly your type are not wanted about the place, get those sack-cloth and ashes on, some people still just can’t grasp the concept of equality, is it worth putting your head above the parapet?

  • Brit

    Brit, bang on the money. 100% what I meant.

    “Who are the CIA accountable to?”

    Given the nature of their operations the general public didnt have a clear picture of what they were doing in Latin America in the 70s and 80s at the time – so not the general public. Certainly not those US citizens who werent even adults at the time.

    “Who were the US troops in Vietnam accountable to?”

    Not the large numbers of Americans strongly opposed to that war at the time, nor to those not adult (or even alive) at the time.

    “Who elected Hitler?”

    I think he was appointed but yes the Nazis did enjoy signifcant support. But only a tiny minority of Germans who currently support the state elected or did anything to support Hitler.

    “Who wanted the Native Americans land?”

    People in the 18th and 19th Centuries (including some Fenians who helped fund the struggle for independence in Ireland).

    “Who gave Bomber Harris his orders (incidently the Yanks bombed Dresden aswell)?”

    A British government over 60 years ago.

    The two basic points here Fin are that there is no meaningful national guilt of an individual in relation to all crimes committed by his nation, nor is there a moral equivalance between someone who engaged in or directly organises murder and someone who expressly or tacitly approves of it. Otherwise many rank and file Republicans should have been imprisoned for the actions of the IRA which they were not involved in but supported.

    On your view of national guilt you as an Irish nationalist are guilty of the crimes of all and any irish nationalists including murder of innocent people, sectarian slaughter of Protestants, ethno-religious Catholic sectarian supremacism, extreme anti-semitism and cooperation with the Nazis? You should be begging on your knees for forgiveness.. or something.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Indeed, Brit, but the British state is actively involved so should amid the Poppy remembrances officially mention their remorse and regret for the deaths of so many Iraqi people. That is I thought what the Poppy was really about; respect for victims of war.

    Once you invade a country you’re part of the problem, not an innocent bystander. America and Britain didn’t go into Iraq as peacemakers to keep warring Muslims apart.

  • Trev

    Mind your backs! Republicans needing to be offended coming through.

    Being a representative of the MOPE must be a full time job. I guess it’s hard to fit in all that victim angst in a given 24 hour period.

    Remember Christmas is coiming and that red and white wearing bast**d Santa, obviously a Brit, will be out and about everywhere to insult the poor wee croppie.

  • Mick Fealty

    RoC,

    There is, but they are fragmented rather than unified under one symbol (UN veterans day at Arbour Hill, yesterday; the Prez at St Patricks Cathedral) . Perhaps that is perfect symbol of a split and fragmented ‘nation’.

  • @bollix I don’t get why a pacifist symbol has “militaristic” overtones, but perhaps I’m just old-fashioned.

    I don’t get the “poppy is British” idea that seems to apply in both Nationalist and Unionist communities in Northern Ireland. It was invented by a Frenchman to commemorate deaths of German, French, British, Irish, Canadian, Australian and American soldiers in the trenches of the First World War, and adopted internationally as a commemoration of all war dead.

    It’s the closest thing we have to an international day for the commemoration of the victims of war. I am appalled at the idea of nationalising it – it was always intended to be for all war dead.

  • fin

    Ah Brit, the usual muddying of the waters I see.

    Perhaps I didn’t break it down enough.

    An elected government is responsible to its electorate, at that moment in time (not in the future) a government acts on behalf of the nation/state not itself. If a government funds terrorism or declares war and that act is known to the nation the nation at that time shares responsibility.

    regarding your comment on the actions of individuals (Irish nationalists) don’t be a silly billy Brit, of course the electorate or the nation is not responsible for unelected individuals. However if the (in relation to your example) government put a gun in an individuals hands knowing that the possible and likely outcome was a sectarian murder then the government is equally guilty AND if the electorate is away of this then the electorate is also equally guilty unless they take action against it.

    That action can be the passing of laws to prevent the situation arising or ensuring those responsible answer for their crimes.

    and as an aside, regarding the imprisonment of republicans, er internment and the rest.

    And finally.

    “nor is there a moral equivalance between someone who engaged in or directly organises murder and someone who expressly or tacitly approves of it.”

    Yes there is, in a big big way,

  • Turgon

    kensei,
    So you take my ire so unseriously: yet you seem to keep trying to get me banned. That of course greatly pleases me: for a republican to want rid of me must mean I am doing something useful. I am afraid I intend to stick around and contend for my views and against republicans for a while yet.

    Your view is summed up by the following quote from you:
    “This site is open to everyone, and if someone haoppens to support the IRA or UDA or Pol Pot it is irrelevant to the arguments they are making except in very narow circumstances.”

    You see most normal people disagree: they feel that people who support immoral and murderous organisations should be challenged and if they support such people that then tells us a lot about them and their world view. As such it is very relevant in many cases and they need to be confronted on it.

    Now you have tried this X, Y logic thing before but unfortunately it does not work.

    Mr. Donnelly posted about rememberance and indeed mentioned Enniskillen but could not condemn it. As such raising that issue was entirely relevant to debate.

    In addition using the X, Y thing I have already pointed out the flaw in your argument. So I will try again:

    If a person makes claim X on some occasions and then on other occasions claims the opposite of X it is reasonable to point out that out.

    A person’s opinion on X is a good test of their comments on issues directly pertaining to X.

    If Y is closely related to X. Now if the person says opinion (1) about Y but that contradicts their opinion on X then what we know about their opinion on X is very relevant to their claim (1) about Y.

    In your case what happens is that when you lose an argument you simply retreat into swearing at people and calling them names. Maybe I should feel sorry for you that you continuously fail in debate but I have to admit I enjoy watching you fail and indeed helping to contrive your failures.

  • Eamonn Mallie

    Richard,

    That seems to me to be an invitation for someone to grasp the issue by the scruff of the neck…

  • Anna

    Respect those on either side of this debate. If you don’t want to wear a poppy then don’t wear one. If you want to wear a poppy, wear one. Either decision should be respected. I wear a poppy and don’t shove it down everyones throat. Its wrong to use the poppy (as many MLA’s and people on this blog are doing) for some pretentious platform to show how patrioitic you are-Irish or British.

  • Sean

    Turgon
    You see most normal people disagree: they feel that people who support immoral and murderous organisations should be challenged and if they support such people that then tells us a lot about them and their world view. As such it is very relevant in many cases and they need to be confronted on it.

    So then normal Irishmen should agree that wearing a poppy in suport of a murderous organization like the british army is morraly wrong

  • Democratic

    “they feel that people who support immoral and murderous organisations should be challenged and if they support such people that then tells us a lot about them and their world view.”

    Would you include the Provos in this statement Sean?

  • Mayoman

    Turgon,before you voted for the TUV, who did you vote for? Honest question.

  • kensei

    Turgon

    So you take my ire so unseriously: yet you seem to keep trying to get me banned. That of course greatly pleases me: for a republican to want rid of me must mean I am doing something useful. I am afraid I intend to stick around and contend for my views and against republicans for a while yet.

    Who says I want you banned? I don’t think I stated that anywhere. I just want you to stop putting up preconditions to debate, and throwing your rattle when people don’t play. I’m not trying to censor anyone.

    You see most normal people disagree: they feel that people who support immoral and murderous organisations should be challenged and if they support such people that then tells us a lot about them and their world view. As such it is very relevant in many cases and they need to be confronted on it.

    Actually, Turgon, they don’t. That’s why most of the time far right Unionism finds it outside chucking snowballs looking like a bunch of mentalists.

    If Chris happens to make an argument supporting the IRA or Pol Pot, then by all means challenges him on the merits of his position. That isn’t what you did. He happened to mention Eniskillen in passiong, and you started on “Care to condemn X,Y,Z” and basically ignored what he said anyway and continued on the rant.

    Now you have tried this X, Y logic thing before but unfortunately it does not work.

    No, that really is what an ad hominem attack is. You attack the man as unsavoury, ignoring all arguments. It used to be banned, but apparently Mick has revised the rules, or the fact I used bad words once means that it doesn’t xcount, or someother reason I dont understand.

    Mr. Donnelly posted about rememberance and indeed mentioned Enniskillen but could not condemn it. As such raising that issue was entirely relevant to debate.

    Actually, he said it was appalling. He just wasn’t prepared to play yoru Troubles Atrocity Top Trumps game. Which is the sensible course of action.

    In addition using the X, Y thing I have already pointed out the flaw in your argument. So I will try again:

    If a person makes claim X on some occasions and then on other occasions claims the opposite of X it is reasonable to point out that out.

    A person’s opinion on X is a good test of their comments on issues directly pertaining to X.

    If Y is closely related to X. Now if the person says opinion (1) about Y but that contradicts their opinion on X then what we know about their opinion on X is very relevant to their claim (1) about Y.

    And as I already pointed out, you don’t know what you’re on about.

    In your case what happens is that when you lose an argument you simply retreat into swearing at people and calling them names. Maybe I should feel sorry for you that you continuously fail in debate but I have to admit I enjoy watching you fail and indeed helping to contrive your failures.

  • kensei

    In your case what happens is that when you lose an argument you simply retreat into swearing at people and calling them names. Maybe I should feel sorry for you that you continuously fail in debate but I have to admit I enjoy watching you fail and indeed helping to contrive your failures.

    Whoops missed this. You seem to think I care about “winning”? Bizarre. What could I possibly win? This is just a wee distraction for me to pass the time, and bounce a few ideas about and wind up those that will take the bait. For fun and giggles.

    Congratulations, Turgie, you win! I’m not quite sure what you win, but you win so it must be good! Go team fundy!

  • Brit

    I said “nor is there a moral equivalance between someone who engaged in or directly organises murder and someone who expressly or tacitly approves of it.”

    And fin said “Yes there is, in a big big way”

    So on your analysis the entire Sinn Fein membership should have been imprisoned for life for expressly or tactitly approving of several murders?

    And this:-

    “An elected government is responsible to its electorate, at that moment in time (not in the future) a government acts on behalf of the nation/state not itself. If a government funds terrorism or declares war and that act is known to the nation the nation at that time shares responsibility.”

    Now if I voted for the last Labour government and supported the invasion of Iraq (and the ongoing presence of troops) I can accept that I bear some degree of responsibility for that invasion. Moral if not legal. But I cannot accept that I bear responsibility for things dont by individual agents / employees of the state which were not sanctioned or authorised by the state and which I opposed or would have done had I known(like the murder of a prisoner by a solider).

    Furthermore just because I voted Labour surely I cannot bear any responsibility for policies or actions which I never supported (like, to give a trivial example, the ban on foxhunting).

    And how about those (a majority in the UK) who dont vote for the governing party. On what basis do they bear a responsibility?

    I also dont understand how historical crimes of governments and nations fit into your strange philosophy. You seemed earlier to be blaming Turgon for the crimes of the British empire. I dont know how old he is but presumably he was not even born, let alone a voter in relation to most of the crimes you refer to.

    Are you now saying that Turgon is only responsible as a supporter of “the state” for the *crimes* of the British government of the day?

  • Sean

    Democratic

    I am pretty sure Turgon already does

  • Turgon

    kensei,
    So you do not want to remove me from debate. Well how about these comments from you to me:

    “If the guests are unruly and do not leave when asked, I can simply close shop. Bear that in mind.”

    “How what Turgon is doing differs from this and 2. why exactly it is tolerated here.

    “I’m not surprised you are putting up barriers to people discussing things. I am surprised Mick is tolerating it.”

    As to what I am trying to win at. It is demonstrating that you Donnelly and other republicans are simplsitic cheerleaders for terrorism without even the intellectual courage to admit to it. I do this on a regular basis and I think most apart from your cheerleader friends would agree that both of you are what I show you to be.

    In addition I demonstrated with the x y thing that you were wrong. I confess that demonstrating such a logical flaw in one who proudly tells us of his computer degree is quite amusing. Though how computer logic relates to the complexities of politics is beyond me: I guess because I am not a computer scientist.

  • fin

    “expressly or tactitly approving of several murders?”

    Really, can you link to this?

  • Brit

    Fin

    Let me get this straight are you:-

    1. Denying that the IRA committed murders?

    or

    2. Denying that SF supported the IRAs actions?

  • fin

    Neither Brit, just interested in your claim that the entire Sinn Fein leadership has

    “expressly or tactitly approving of several murders?”

    I’m curious to see which Sinn Fein leaders expressed approval for which murders.

    All I asked for was some links

  • Brit

    Fin this is pretty straightforward

    I said “nor is there a moral equivalance between someone who engaged in or directly organises murder and someone who expressly or tacitly approves of it.”

    And you said there is such an equivalence.

    You have further conceded that the IRA engaged directly in murder and that SF supported their actions.

    Accordingly, on your on case, all those who supported SF, and who therefore expressly or tacitly approved the IRAs murders, bear a moral responsibility equivalent to that of the actual murderes and organisers of the murder in the IRA and should be imprisoned for it – or at least considered equally “guilty”.

  • kensei

    Turgon

    So you do not want to remove me from debate. Well how about these comments from you to me:

    First instance, I started that thread, I wanted a discussion not a childish games and given its my ball, I can do what I like. Had I wished to silence you, I could have just nuked your contributions. I didn’t threaten to do that. I threatened simply to close the thread so I wasn’t emailled continously. In the end I didn’t do it. On the others, I wanted specific behaviour stopped, not you silenced.

    As to what I am trying to win at. It is demonstrating that you Donnelly and other republicans are simplsitic cheerleaders for terrorism without even the intellectual courage to admit to it. I do this on a regular basis and I think most apart from your cheerleader friends would agree that both of you are what I show you to be.

    Personally I reckon Chris puts a fair bit of thought into his posts, whether I agree or not, and has never particularly been afrad to say what he belives. I tend to not actually post on those topics, and comment relatively little. And no matter how much you care to think otherwise “I’m not playing this game” is not an answer you can infer judgment from.

    I speak only for myself. Obviously this puts me at a disadvantage to you, who apparently speaks for the rest of the site. Arrogant, much?

    In addition I demonstrated with the x y thing that you were wrong. I confess that demonstrating such a logical flaw in one who proudly tells us of his computer degree is quite amusing. Though how computer logic relates to the complexities of politics is beyond me: I guess because I am not a computer scientist.

    “Computer logic” is um, logic. You’d cover the same material in a philosphy or mathematics course. I just point that I have formal studies when people accuse me of having no grasp of logic without attempting to point out any flaws. Anyway, here’s the thing, Turgon: I didn’t define what an ad hominem attack is. I just quoted the definition.

    For the record:

    If a person makes claim X on some occasions and then on other occasions claims the opposite of X it is reasonable to point out that out.

    Which is fine, but not actually relevant. You didn’t go “Aha Chris, you are condeming this now but X months ago you said it was all good fun! Ahahahaha!.” What you did was challenged him to condemn X because he dared mention it.

    Then called him a liar for good measure when he stated he hadn’t actually heard one of your examples. Flat out Straw Man.

    A person’s opinion on X is a good test of their comments on issues directly pertaining to X.

    No. It may or may not be interesting, but the whole point of debate is to draw out ideas and nuance. Someone might belief X was bad, but a specific act was ok. Or vice versa. Or their general opinion of something might mask a lot of ifs and buts.

    It’s not quite a fallacy, but it’s not right.

    If Y is closely related to X. Now if the person says opinion (1) about Y but that contradicts their opinion on X then what we know about their opinion on X is very relevant to their claim (1) about Y.

    Why can’t they have differnet opinions? “Related” is the not the same, and I guess you are leaving yourself open to subjectivity as to what related is. You may be generalising unfairly. There may be key points the other perosn wishes to elucidate. In any case, you didn’t ask about related stuff. You just went into a tirade.

    This is just spin, Turgon, to mask playing the man. You have already stated you wnat to “expose” people. That’s nice. Good luck with that. I’m not actually interested in personalities or the secret hearts of men. I just want to have a few debates. I don’t actually care if Genghis Khan is sitting at the end of the keyboard. It’s about the ideas and not the people.

  • Sean

    Yeah brit but using your equivalence logic so should thatcher and her entire cabinet

  • Brit

    Its not my logic its Fins.

  • Sean

    no its not

    But its interesting to see you admit that thatcher operated nIreland as a terrorist state

  • fin

    Brit,
    You have further conceded that the IRA engaged directly in murder and that SF supported their actions.

    WTF?

    again in questioning your post from some time ago

    “So on your analysis the entire Sinn Fein membership should have been imprisoned for life for expressly or tactitly approving of several murders?”

    Once again I ask you for LINKS PLEASE

  • fin

    haha Sean, ever consider a career in law

    Brit, Links

  • Brit

    I asked you whether you denied that
    “the IRA committed murders?”

    that “SF supported the IRAs actions?

    you said “Neither Brit” which means you accept the truth of both propositions.

    In which case SF supporters supported murders, expressly or tacitly even if they didnt commit them or directly organise them. In which case according to you SF supporters are morally equivalent to the IRA volunteers.

    There is no missing evidence or missing link in this argument. And no additional need to provide “Links” given that all I have done is apply your position of principle to facts which you have accepted??

    I could find links to show that the IRA has committed murders and that SF supported the IRA but since those propositions are expressly accepted by you and in any event self-evident there would be no need.

  • Sean

    Fin

    Funny you mention that a judge once told me the same when I represented the company on a minor traffic violation

  • Vltonia

    I always suspected that many posters on Slugger were talking out of their ar*e but today’s effort from one in particular is pretty spectacular.

    Someone is actually wishing to have “links” to illustrate that Sinn Fein and the IRA are one and the same group.

    What next; is the Pope a Catholic, ‘links’ please?

  • Brit

    My point here is not to argue either that:-

    1. SF and the IRA are one and the same; or

    2. that SF supporters are/were “bad”

    (though a case can be made for both propositions).

    I was simply seeking to show that Finn’s arguments about there being no difference between passive supporter of entity and active murderer/consipirator in that entity would lead to a ridiculous conclusion that all SF voters during the troubles should be imprisoned for the IRAs murders.

    I note that Finn has failed to address my challenges to his idea that in a democracy all citizens who “support the state” ie accept the legitimacy of the government are morally culpable for all and any actions by that state!

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Ever hear of civil disobedience, Brit? Or do you believe that Hitler was guilty and the footsoldiers were not? Turgon does.But then his IQ is probably over 50.

  • Brit

    “Ever hear of civil disobedience, Brit?”

    Yes

    “Or do you believe that Hitler was guilty and the footsoldiers were not?”

    It depends what you mean by guilty and footsoldiers. Those who engaged in criminal acts especially those who voluntarily and deliberately got into positions in death camps etc were guilty. I dont think the average German soldier or citizen who went along with Nazism to the extent required to stay safe, without doing more, has much if any guilt.

    That your anti-British bigotry and Irish chauvanism led you down a track of arguing that we should ‘remember’ Hitler because he “possibly” didnt directly kill anlyone is as pathetic as it is disgusting. I for one do not honour Hitler or in any way mourn his death – he deserved far worse.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    I’ll try again, Brit. Turgon feels that he can include the ordinary German footsoldier in his commemoration but not Hitler. Why not? The point I make is that Hitler probably never pulled the trigger but a footsoldier did. Unless you publicly divorce yourself from the action of your government then it is presumed that you support them. You can’t support a la carte. Like what bit of the Falklands/Malvinas debacle did you NOT support? BTW ‘guilty’ means ‘not innocent’ and ‘footsoldier’ means ‘ordinary soldier’

  • fin

    Vltonia, if you’re referring to me than youre confused, very confused because the question has been repeated several times, as I await an answer.

    Please feel free to join Brit in his trawl of the web to find links to support his claim,

    Brit,

    Links Please,

  • fin

    Sean, shame on you for recognising the court : )

    Do you think we should help Brit out looking for links to back up his claim?

    Nawwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    Brit LINKS

  • Seimi

    I’ve arrived at this debate very late (apologies – I have a life – or so I’m told, by those who live it for me), but amongst all the arguing, one thing really seems to stick out for me:
    Turgon,
    someone posted that they wore their poppy for ALL the dead – British/German/Japanese soldiers, all of them. They then went further – Hitler, IRA/UVF members…They asked you did you wear your poppy to remember ALL of these dead. And your answer, for someone who professes to be a Christian, seemed to me to be lacking in something. What was it…? Oh yes. Christianity. Don’t Christians cherish and love all life? Isn’t the loss of one life – ANY life – something to be mourned? Why would you not wear the poppy in memory of Hitler? Or Bobby Sands? Or Billy Wright? Didn’t they all die during war time? Aren’t they deserving of your rememberance at this time of year? Why do you have to think about whether or not one person’s death is more or less worth remembering than another’s? Surely your not advocating a hierarchy of victims here? Seriously Turgon, I have read your posts on Slugger, and whilst I don’t agree with your politics, I have always admired your Christian stance – I even defended you, many moons ago – but I feel, in this instance, that you have allowed your head rule your heart. You immediately jumped in with an attack on the author of the post, and, as has been pointed out, demanded that he condemn certain actions. And since then, you have been back-peddling, name-calling, and engaging in childish man-playing that ill-becomes you. I, and everyone else here, know that you have a problem with Chris and with Kensei. Both are articulate, clever posters, as are you. However, when Chris Donnelly posts about Rememberance Sunday – and I belive he was honest, measured and sincere in what he wrote, and judging by most responses, so did most other people – perhaps your best response should be to acknowledge that first, possibly thank him for giving his views, and then add an ‘HOWEVER’. The whole – WILL YOU CONDEMN – bit does you no favours.
    So anyway. Straight yes or no – do you wear the poppy to remember ALL the people who died because of war, Bobby Sands, Hitler and Billy Wright included? Or are only certain dead people worthy of that?

  • Brit

    Fin, this is very odd. My “claims” were that the IRA murdered people and that SF supported the IRA (that was its raison d’etre). Not only are this claims wholly uncontentious but you expresssly accepted their truth in a post above in black and white.

    Its like me saying to David Irvine – do you deny that there was a holocaust or do you merely deny the 5-6 million number? And him saying neither. And then when I condem the actions of the Nazis he asks for a “link” to prove my claim.

    Do you now say that you were lying or mistaken or that I misunderstood you or that you failed to clearly express yourself??

    My reason for making the claim (and I could and probably have used plenty of other examples)was not to do with the legitimacy of SF but in illustrating the absurdity of failing to distinguish between the moral responsibility of an murderer and his co-conspiractors, on the one hand, and a passive (including tacit) supporter of a murdere on the other.

    In any event see below if you need a link to prove what you have already agreed is true??

    http://www.nytimes.com/1984/11/05/world/irish-rebel-defends-brighton-bombing.html

  • Brit

    “I’ll try again, Brit. Turgon feels that he can include the ordinary German footsoldier in his commemoration but not Hitler. Why not? The point I make is that Hitler probably never pulled the trigger but a footsoldier did. Unless you publicly divorce yourself from the action of your government then it is presumed that you support them. You can’t support a la carte. Like what bit of the Falklands/Malvinas debacle did you NOT support? BTW ‘guilty’ means ‘not innocent’ and ‘footsoldier’ means ‘ordinary soldier’” PH

    Some German footsoldiers fought bravely and within the laws of war in various theatres acrosss Europe and beyond. They were conscripts and some opposed Hitlers anti-semitism, his aggressive war, and may have been supporters of Social Democrats or even Communists. I have no problem commemorating their deaths. Nor the deaths of German civillians who were killed in bombing raids etc.

    Other “ordinary” German footsoldiers raped women, tortured and mudered civillians and committed other war crimes. In many cases they did so deliberately / voluntarily and under no compulsion or threat. Of couse I cannot and wouldn’t commemorate or honour such people. Whether Hitler pulled a trigger or not is immaterial to his moral guilt.

    I totally reject your contention that “Unless you publicly divorce yourself from the action of your government then it is presumed that you support them”. Apart from the absurdity of expecting people to go around “publicly” identifying every policy and action they disagree with this is very arbitrary given that many people in most countries, probably the majority, did not vote for the government. Even for governments and policies that are supported this does not mean each and every action is supported – I supported the invasion of Iraq does not mean that I supported or bear responsibility for the murder or rape of civillians by British soldiers (any more than wanting the Red Army to defeat the Wehrmacht implies any support for war crimes committed by its soliders which were tolerated or even encoured by the command). Furthermore there is a difference (which I am trying to convey to Fin) in the level of responsibility for a crime which one participates in and which one supporters. To take a different example to the SF one, imagine a murderous racist attack supported by local Neo-Fascists who cheer when they hear of it. The latter are clearly scum but no one holds them guilty of the murder or expects that they should be imprisoned for life along with the perpetrator.

    You absolutely can and must support a la carte. Human beings organise and operate through collective entities, political parties, pressure groups, charities and Trade Unions. It is a good, sensible and neccesary way of organising but inevitably there will be things that you do not agree with. In some circumstances you may take public action and other times you wont but it would be ridiculous to resign from the organistion in view of one disagreement. I have profound disagreements with Labour Party policy on, for example, the fox hunting ban and religious hatred laws, but I am not doing to resign my membership. This does not make me responsible for those policies.

    See the attached article for some further enlightenment on what it means and does not mean to “support”.

    http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2009/11/proisrael.html

    I personally supported the Falklands war, a war of liberation against a right wing authoritarian junta against the will of the people of the islands. That doesn’t mean I supported each and every action by the British armed forces in that war. Let alone in wars or conflicts which took place before I was born!

  • Seimi,

    Whilst not wishing to interfere with your mewling little piety feat with an Turgon, perhaps you’d accept that an individual decides to engage in an act of remembrance for reasons which are personal, internal and subjective. I, for instance, wear my poppy to remember innocent victims of conflict and British and Allied forces from 1914 to the present day, with a heavy focus on the latter. I certainly don’t wear it for people who died in the pursuit of political objectives opposed to the UK and her interests. Frankly, sod them.

    I don’t think that makes me a bad person, or that I’m missing the point of the poppy, whatever subjective rationale you may wish to attach to the poppy on my lapel. Being thoroughly politically consistent is very rarely pretty for the onloooker.

    Does it mean I’m politicising the poppy? For myself, absolutely, but I don’t seek to prescribe reasons for other people to wear it. They do it for different reasons, and good luck to them.

  • Seimi

    Nabidana,

    Thanks for your quite condescending post.If you took the time to read my post, then surely you can see that I was merely asking Turgon to respond to a question put to him by another poster. I also wanted to make it clear that I wasn’t attacking him in any way. If that wasn’t clear enough, then I apologise to you, personally, for my ‘mewling little piety feat.’ Now, back to that life….

  • Seimi,

    You’re quite right, the iPhone doesn’t convey nuance very well, and my opening line was a bit of a bollocks. My genuine apologies, up too early, and I shall remind myself of that when I post again. (slaps self on wrist).

    I didn’t think then, nor do I now, that you were attacking him, but I also don’t think that the act of wearing the poppy has to be a universal act of remembrance, though of course it can be.

    As an aside, I don’t see what being a Christian has to do with anything.

  • Seimi

    Nabidana,

    I don’t think the wearing of the poppy has to be a universal act of remembrance either, but someone else did, and they asked Turgon the question. I was just interested in Turgon’s thoughts on that question, given his strong Christian background.