“All tender and effeminate notions must be stilled by a cold and single-blooded passion.”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Eilis O’Hanlon has written an impressively controlled piece on how Sinn Fein and its wider Republican movement (the organisation formerly known as the IRA) have managed to subordinate the natural bonds of human feeling to the furtherance of ‘the cause’.

A dissenting scion of the Cahill family, she begins with her experience of going to her mother’s funeral last Autumn in the literal and metaphorical heart of Republican west Belfast:

Most of those individuals who attended my mother’s wake had heard the same stories and scandals that I had and more besides — because I moved away from republican Belfast physically and psychologically and politically a long time ago, and they stayed right in the heart of it. They knew better than I did the myriad ways in which the authority figures they respected and held up as icons of political virtue had turned a blind eye to appalling abuses — yet they remained true to the republican faith.

Including the woman who has now spoken so painfully of what happened to her, who has been keen to stress her continuing loyalty to the republican movement. Knowing all they did, they still bought into the myth of the republican family, even when they could see that the republican family tree was rotten to the core, and when it was clear that certain people in that family tree had a special branch all of their own, where they were protected from the consequences of their worst actions.

They could internalise the things they knew, and then kind of not know them any more, in order not to let anything damage the struggle.

She sees clear roots in the Russian anarchists of an earlier age:

Sergey Nechayev, the 19th century Russian nihilist, who wrote his Catechism of the Revolutionary as a blueprint for the destruction of society, described such a man best: “All the tender and effeminate emotions of kinship, friendship, love, gratitude, and even honour, must be stilled in him by a cold and single-blooded passion.”

As it happens, we know that the bond of kinship does survive, because Adams, as the evidence now seems incontrovertible, treated his brother Liam differently from any other person in west Belfast who had been accused of the abuse of his own child; and he was also prepared to continue to publicly eulogise their father, despite now admitting that the man was a sadistic brute and sexual predator who abused some of his own children.

Even so, Nechayev’s words still ring chillingly true. The only ultimate love is for the revolution; the necessities of struggle transcend all other considerations. Adams could eulogise monsters because the eulogies served a cause which needed to sentimentalise where it came from in order to justify what it was doing. In that way, he was no different from the community he represented. He was the same, only more so

And finally:

Terrorists, like sexual abusers, like doing unspeakable things to human flesh. It’s just that politics gives one side of the same perverted coin a convenient excuse. It’s certainly no coincidence that so many women get turned on by violent men, or that other violent men rally round to hush up their crimes.

Islamic suicide bombers take this diseased sexuality to its ultimate conclusion by turning their very bodies into weapons.

In retrospect, it’s a pity that the IRA’s heroes didn’t have the courage of their convictions to adopt the same methods themselves, because then there would have been fewer of them around to rape women and children, and fewer to cover up for their abusive comrades afterwards.

But then the IRA always were cowards. They didn’t mind who died for the cause, just so long as it wasn’t them. What’s emerging now is only scratching the surface of their vicious collective history.

As the Catholic Church found out before them, once the floodgates open, there’s no closing them again.

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  • Jimmy_Sands

    “Do you get it now !”

    He was retaliating for the plantations?

    Yes that’s perfectly clear.

  • tacapall

    Bulshit??? what do they say: Never bulshit a bushitter my lad. You have a lot of growing to do. The best you can say of the hungerstrikers is they followed that well worn path of Irish martyrdom: romantic fools, lead astray by cynics and murderers. I will not see them compared to serial killers and sexual sadists, but I will not allow you or anyone to pretend their treatment was so bad they had no choice. Did I forget to mention ‘extraordinary rendition’. I am sure you know there are some prisons where the subject of clothing and ablutions would not have been an option.

    If we are not careful someone will, one day soon, point out similarities between the likes of Fred West and certain alleged sex offenders within the republican movement.

    Granni Trixie

    I spent most of my career in offices, but I have spent the last several years working with people with severe learning and or physical disabilities. And you are right. No one will ever meet braver or kinder people than those carrying such a burden.

  • Paddy

    Gerry Adams did well out of the hunger strike. How pleased they must be.

  • tacapall

    ‘extraordinary rendition’. You may ask the British Government about that Pip, Did the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair not declare to the world that the IRA were not terrorists like al qaeda but were fighting for a just political cause when Unionists tried to compare them with al qaeda at Westminister a while back.

  • tacapall

    And your point is? there are few things any government does that surprise me. Rendition happened, the Brits have spent the last few years denying planes carrying such prisoners flew over Brit airspace. Do you believe that?

    As for Tony Blair I thought everyone knew him to be a compulsive, pathological liar, who, I sincerely hope will one day stand trial for war crimes at the Hague. Are you going to be the last to learn this?

    We really have been side tracked have we not. This is supposed to be about Ms O’Hanlons article and the outstanding allegations of child abuse and rape.

  • tacapall

    I already give my views on Ms O’Hanlon on post 11 Pip, as for “Rendition” over brit airspace are you serious ! how about on British soil. Tony Blair is just like every other British prime minister perfidious albion, old chap.