U.V.F. flags, banners and symbolism – historically and culturally legitimate (and legal)…

The issue of flags and emblems is a tricky one, and one with a phenomenal capacity for the famous ‘whataboutery. This post will avoid the ‘other side’. UVF flags and banners are carried and flown in Northern Ireland (and further afield incidently) today. Its raised continually as a bone of contention. I prepared text for a leaflet recently, produced in conjunction with Armagh City Community group R.E.A.C.T. and funded by the Community Relations Council (This leaflet was produced specifically for the Armagh area, hence some of the information included). Some people may choose to tell me and others what im thinking and doing when i use certain symbolism. This leaflet is simply stating what we say is the factual reality. This is a 6 page tri-fold leaflet. Should be available directly from CRC very soon if anyone would like one. Alternatively if im contacted im happy to forward a PDF.

EDITOR’s NOTE: This visual material was published on Slugger before the final draft was completed. Our apologies for any misunderstanding that’s arisen as a result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Is this what the Community Relations Council is for? Shared future for all.

  • Garibaldy- a shared future is about understanding and acceptance. So yes- this is what CRC is for. If more people took things at face value and accepted them, rather than looking for subtext, innuendo and alterior motive, then we could have a shared future.

  • socaire

    I presume that CRC will furnish us all with a similar leaflet from ‘the other side’?

  • I’m fairly sure that a shared future involves things like integrated housing and education, as well as fostering a communal sense of identity, rather than shoring up the idea that there’s two communities and we can lives happily separately but respectfully. Or at least that is what it ought to be about. Instead this is the DUP/PSF version.

  • Chris Donnelly

    “…contention regarding flags has almost exclusively come from a lack of understanding about specific emblems and organisations, misunderstandings and an ignorance of certain history due to communal segregation.”

    What utter nonsense, Quincey.

    Contention regarding flags comes from a perfect understanding of the significance of flags and emblems, and pretending otherwise is disingenous in the extreme.

    This is a game that could be played from the republican side too.

    Irish republicanism was founded by protestants in Ireland, and the flag of Ireland captures the aspiration for unity between catholic and protestant.

    Many IRA leaders were protestant.

    Now, does any- or all of this- mean that a decision to fly flags bearing the letters ‘IRA’ from lamp posts in mixed residential areas or as part of contentious parades is not either provocative or insensitive to the sentiments of the non-catholic community?

    Of course there is a historical background to all of the political- and military- forces in Ireland. But providing that as an excuse to justify the marking out of territory or incorporation of such flags and emblems as part of provocative parades will not fool anybody.

  • Chris, this leaflet is what i believe and tens of thousands like me believe. Its important to me and them, and significantly so. Its not going away. This is me telling you what i feel and believe.

    If you or others choose to say im lying, insert subtext, imply or suggest agenda; i simply can not answer that. That is your belief. As long as you dont attack me physically because of it or advocate i be attacked physically ive no problem with that.

    But whether you choose to believe or accept this information is irrelevant- this is what i believe, feel, think.

    (Im deliberatly attempting not to get drawn into Republicanism and its symbolism. Really trying to avoid whataboutery- must be getting old and sensible!lol)

  • Chris Donnelly

    Quincey
    That’s a pretty weak argument, and I genuinely expect better.

    The actual leaflet is quite interesting and, as a teacher, I’d quite like to get hold of a number of copies to use in the classroom.

    But suggesting that it’s ok to believe that ‘controversy comes merely from ignorance’ flies in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

    In this regard, illustrating the history of republican flags and emblems is important because it demonstrates that such a history should still not be used as a fig leaf to disguise malevolent behaviour.

  • Its not intended to be an argument. You cant ague when an individual tells you what they beleive. Its what they beleive. Its not disputable. It may be disagreeable but its not disputable.

    Im not trying to argue, im trying to explain. And im trying to do so without clouding the issue with other symbols/ flags etc. This is specifically about Ulster Volunteer emblems and flags.

    It is my belief that much controversy is very often centred in forms of ignorance (but note i do not say exclusively).

  • Nunoftheabove

    Quincey

    Is it the CRC, REACT, the UVF and/or yourself we can look forward to seeing with their hand held limply upwards in relation to the appalling grammar in the leaflet ?

  • Jack2

    The UVF when used today means the Ulster Volunteer Force.
    An illegal organisation which murdered 481 people.

    It is an organisation which hijacked the name of an honourable fighting force of World War one.

    Why no mention of these facts in your propaganda leaflet?

  • Jack, for infomation. Over a decade ago there were flags and banners carried by a small number of groups that directly related to the modern UVF. They did so unashamadely, and the banners made reference to modern units, structures and areas of organisation.

    This does not exist anymore. This was stamped out in an organised campaign. Every single flag making reference to the UVF now carried is either a replica of an original flag from 1913-1915 (there are around 100 hanging in Churchs and even catherdrals across the County and in the ROI) or has a specific dated reference and obvious WW1 subject matter.

    If someone chooses to take a meaning beyond what is factually depicted, well, thats their choice. But it is ignoring the depicted factual reality.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Quincey

    You mean, I think, to say the factual reality intending to be depicted rather than the depicted factual reality. Well, either that or that it is the depiction itself which is the only thing ‘factually real’ about it ?

  • Jack2

    Cheers for the quick reply Quincey.

    “No element of the broad Northern Ireland community should be intimidated or take offense” – your words.
    Facts: UVF killed 481 people , over 2/3rds were Catholics.

    Dont take offense people we dont mean THAT UVF of 1966-2004 whose members are still alive and walking the streets, we mean the UVF of 1912-1913.

    Suppose your going to tell us that the LVF/UFF flags we see also have a hidden meaning?

    Is it just the cost of printing that is covered by taxpayers money or did you receive a fee?

  • The leaflet is about whats in the leaflet. Ive explained the historical significance and factual depictions on show today. If you want to go beyond the factual reality and choose to see something beyond the physical image, i cant really do anything to convince you different.

    And yes Jack, i received a massive massive fee and intend to spend September, October and November in Cancún. Seriously considering leaving my current job and taking up leaflet preparation full time. Its incredibly lucrative.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Quincey

    UVF-related activities generally appear to be fairly lucrative to some of us.

  • bigtoole

    My first impression of the leaflet was slightly down beat when I run my eye over it picking up the weapons & logo’s but on reading it I can now say it was very informative with detailed break down of the structures from it’s formation.

    Anybody who can’t acknowledge the information within the leaflet as being educational is undoubtedly not living in the real world.

  • grandimarkey

    Quincey:

    “Ive explained the historical significance and factual depictions on show today. If you want to go beyond the factual reality and choose to see something beyond the physical image, i cant really do anything to convince you different.”

    Quincey, that’s ridiculous.

    Humans infer meanings from symbols or texts all the time.

    The swastika was originally a symbol used in Asiatic religions. However it would be ridiculous for me to insist on carrying a banner with a swastika on it in Israel just because it didn’t originally have anything to do with the holocaust.

  • The difference here grandimarkey is primarily the nature of the flags. While admittedly there are some small gaps (because of the nature of the historical original colours),the vast majority of these flags literally SAY what they are on them. They say WW1 battle names, they use dates, they refer to units and geographical organisations that ceased to exist 80 years ago. That isnt open to interpretation.

  • grandimarkey

    “While admittedly there are some small gaps”

    They have UVF branded across them.

    Unfortunately that name was used as a banner to murder the first victim of the troubles and many more after that.

    Since then it’s been a bit tarnished and trying to justify its use during the marching season only makes said season less hospitable to those who traditionally find the whole marching thing a bit uncomfortable.

  • ayeYerMa

    Interesting leaflet Quincey. Not really interested in the flags myself, but the succinct summary on the original UVF could be interesting to some. I’m sure it would indeed be more useful though if you uploaded in somewhere as a single PDF rather than several images.

    I think historians in general have neglected the original UVF by comparison to the amount of focus that is put on 1916 and the IRA. It seems, especially in the Republic, that there is common knowledge that there was also an “old IRA”, but there seems to be a lot of people unaware that there was also an “old UVF”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    That isnt open to interpretation.

    Do you think they fly UVF flags in neighbourhoods with a heavy UDA presence ? After all, it’s not the current UVF but the one from the 1916 ?

    Can you think of any UDA districts where I would expect to find flags commemorating the (original) UVF ?

  • Brian

    The “old UVF” was an organization so loyal to the King that they were ready to wage war against his kingdom in order to stop a law signed by the King himself from coming into effect.

    What a great organization.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It seems, especially in the Republic, that there is common knowledge that there was also an “old IRA”, but there seems to be a lot of people unaware that there was also an “old UVF”.

    I doubt that many people in the republic are au fait with the alphabet soup of paramilitary organizations up here. But I bet if you waved a flag labelled IRA in their faces they would be less likely to conclude that you were commemorating the war of independence and rather more that you were commemorating or encouraging support for a more contemporary group of nutjobs. I’m quite sure the reaction would be the same elsewhere in the UK.

  • ayeYerMa

    What I was trying to say is that there seems to be less knowledge about the original UVF in NI than there is about the original IRA in the RoI.

    This is evidenced by the frequent cluelessness shown by people who I assume are northerners (like Comrade Stalin on the other thread).

  • JH

    Isn’t this a case of…

    The flags may well be historical and merely misunderstood;

    You might well feel that it’s part of your culture and an expression of your identity to fly them;

    You might even have a human right to an expression of that identity;

    But you just don’t fly them because, rightly or wrongly, they cause offence to your neighbour? A neighbour you consider your equal?

  • Mark McGregor

    Of course the same flags being used in a memorial parade for a recent UVF man (Brian Robinson) proves they have no connection whatsoever with the current proscribed UVF, are purely historic symbols and anyone linking them would be dishonest?

    Or this blog item is the biggest load of transparent sophistry ever to appear on Slugger?

  • Quincey Dougan

    Im doing well in the ‘biggest’ ever stakes on Slugger. Added to Marks, i think ive been told im worst ever 3 times in the space of a few weeks! Cheers. More to come.

    Yes Mark, you are correct in your assertion that to make the direct link simply on the basis of presence would be dishonest. To assume guilt by presence in terms of a piece of cloth, or indeed a hell of a lot of things, is one which could keep the ‘whatabout’ people active in perpetuity.

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    Quincey, just because the modern loyalists claim the flag to be commemorating the 1912 UVF does not make it so. In fact, I’ve created an IRA flag which, using the same logic, is totally legal.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinmcilhennon/6065844365/in/photostream

    Should it be flown at the front of Republican parades and on lampposts?

  • Quincey Dougan

    Mark, can you acknowledge the photo source please so that people can clearly identify the date and context.

  • Quincey Dougan

    Context Kevin. Your analogy isnt correct because it is an obvious facile deliberate invention. The colours described in the leaflet predate the modern troubles. Many also have the advantage of being direct facsimilies of original colours. St Annes Cathedral and Armagh Cathedral are just two places where such flags are on display. There are countless others.

  • Kevin McIlhennon

    My analogy is totally correct. And the addition of the UVF crest to the modern day flag was a deliberate invention. The colours of the IRA flag are direct facsimilies of the colours used by the Irish Volunteers, Óglaigh na hÉireann and the IRB during the period from the Rising to Partition. The last time I checked, the green, gold and orange were used in various flags by the organisations. All of which were legal. So I could easily make this and fly it and nothing could be done.

  • Quincey Dougan

    The difference Kevin is not ‘manufacture’, its precedent. And choose to admit it or not, the UVF colours do have precedent unrivaled in Republicanism. Some Orange Lodges for example have been carrying the Purple UVF Standard continually since the 1910’s.

  • ForkHandles

    Interesting leaflet Quincey. I enjoy coming across pieces of early NI history and the Ireland that existed leading up to the formation of the state. It would be great if the local beeb would do a documentary or two.

    Its obviously a very emotive subject given we are still well within living memory of the recent terrorist campaigns, but educating people about the true origins of organisations like the UVF, and other well-known letters, should help separate todays murderers and criminals from the honourable men of the early 20th century that fought in WW1. Education should be pursued so that the public know that today’s misuse of past generations emblems and organisations is entirely false. But I think it is too soon to be putting a UVF flag on lampposts etc. It’s still too much associated with today’s terrorists, but continuing these educational initiatives could eventually create enough public knowledge to turn the tide of opinion.
    After reading the leaflet and then looking at Marks pic, I find myself despising the current paramilitaries even more than usual. The old flags should be taken off them.

  • Kudos to Mark for the use of the word sophistry. A word that could have been invented for the internet but sadly has long fallen out of common usage. Much better than trolling I am sure we can agree.

  • Mark McGregor

    Quincey,

    The fact remains that the proscribed UVF and its supporters use those colours along with those of the YCV. As shown in the annual Brian Robinson commemoration parade photo I provided.

    Just because they have a historical lineage doesn’t mean they aren’t also used to support the modern, illegal UVF.

    Denying that or ignoring that in your taxpayer funded literature, is pure sophistry (word used again to try and get more kudos points from Gari) and dishonest.

    The reason all these flags appear at current UVF events and are displayed by UVF supporting bands is because they have a dual meaning – the historical and the modern. I’d suggest in many cases the modern UVF is the central organisation being endorsed by many displaying them.

    Did you really think people were going to just ignore the huge chunk you left out and accept this nonsense that these are solely historical displays?

  • Rory Carr

    No, Quincey, the difference is not ‘precedent’ it is indeed ‘manufacture’. There is no point in arguing. This is what I believe.

    As a wise man once said, ” You cant [sic] ague [sic] when an individual tells you what they beleive [sic]. Its [sic] what they beleive[sic]. Its [sic] not disputable. It may be disagreeable but its [sic] not disputable.”

    (Sorry about the terrible spelling and punctuation but I am obliged to be faithful to the original.)

  • Mark,

    More kudos points acquired. Somebody at the CRC needs their head examined but.

  • JR

    I don’t accept your argument quincy given the widspread use of this flag at paramilitary displays. But even so the old UVF were about much more than the WW1. It was formed to keep catholics and nationalists in their place as an underclass in Ulster and as such is still rather offensive.

  • lamhdearg

    Interesting thread, lots of 100th years stuff coming up over the next couple of years, U.V.F. and others, so we all had better get used to it, i can’t help but feel that some of the commenters who are happy to have a go at Quincey on this, also feel the I.R.A.s 1968 onwards campaign was understandable, and would have little problem with easter rising commemorations (excluding the dissy/s.f. spilt), being that they are about, then not how, But more kudos to Quincey for keeping it about his chosen subject.

  • lamhdearg

    One thing, i do have a problem with tax money going towards this, and many other unnecessary(in my view) works.

  • Eddie (Eamonn) Mac Bhloscaidh

    Here is the ‘about us’ section of the community relations council,
    http://www.community-relations.org.uk/about-us/

    Doesnt seem to be about the ‘shared future’ ideology.

  • Quincey Dougan

    To the contrary Eddie, i think it fits directly into the CRC aims.

    Ive came to an end with my comments in reply on this topic and will leave the debate to others. I have as stated managed to refrain from the whatabout word.

  • anne warren

    I agree people should be educated about “the true origins of organisations like the UVF and other well-known letters” of Loyalist organisations.
    Brian said: “The “old UVF” was an organization so loyal to the King that they were ready to wage war against his kingdom in order to stop a law signed by the King himself from coming into effect”.
    Indeed, under Carson and his associates rebellion was openly preached, men were drilled, arms were landed, the Kaiser was invoked, the forces of the Crown were defied and their commanders seduced from their allegiance.
    In 1914 Belfast journalist F Franklin Moore defined Ulster loyalty as being “the readiness to uphold and obey such laws as they (the Loyalists) approved of”
    1972: Direct rule from Westminster and the Loyalists demonstrated menacingly in their hundreds of thousands, with their leaders again threatening rebellion
    1974 An Act of Parliament (Sunningdale Agreement) was followed by the Ulster Workers Council General Strike
    1985 – the Anglo Irish Agreement saw the birth of Ulster Resistance.
    As an Englishwoman, who can see the the contradictions at the very heart of Loyalism, there is nothing to celebrate in the “Old” UVF or its modern counterpart and much for Ulster people to be ashamed of.

  • carl marks

    Quincy this nonsense about the flags representing the old UVF and nothing to do with the new UVF is comparable to the BS we get when a “community worker “ tell us that KAI refers to a much loved rangers player and does not mean KILL ALL IRISH, so please don’t insult our intelligence .
    If it walks like a duck etc

  • Carl Marks’s point reminds me of the balrog blogger who argued consistently that the word huns was applied only to rangers fans, and not to protestants in general.

  • andnowwhat

    100% Carl Marks.

    When exactly did this UVF flag suddenly become de rigeur?

  • carl marks

    Garibaldy (profile) says:
    21 August 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Carl Marks’s point reminds me of the balrog blogger who argued consistently that the word huns was applied only to rangers fans, and not to protestants in general

    you hit it on the head my point exactly

  • lamhdearg

    10.000 already ordered from china (flags not mausers) to be flown in the run up to ulster day 2012.

  • lamhdearg

    of course i made that up.

  • carl marks

    lamhdearg
    Pity I could have got you a better deal in Indonesia split the profits, know what i mean nudge nudge wink wink

  • lamhdearg

    carl, they are to be replaced in jan 2013 with 20.000 (winter will take its toll, these are only pre ordered no money has changed hands, if you will take the heat from the triads, i am sure a deal can be struck.

  • lamhdearg

    i am of course making that up also.

  • latcheeco

    Gari,
    Your sensitivies around the UVF are understandable.

  • ForkHandles

    Much to be ashamed of Anne? You might be getting a bit carried away? 🙂 I think generally in these historical events people would support what they agree with. I don’t see this as being unusual.

  • Millbag

    The leaflet says men organised in the Orange lodges and held drill sessions etc…

    Why would a self-avowed religious and cultural organisation involve itself in military style endeavours? Doesn’t anyone find this ever so slightly disturbing?

    Apparently the drilling was in response to the passage of the Third Irish Home Rule Bill going through Parliament at the time. But that doesn’t sound very loyal. A bill, which would have to be signed into law by the King, who they claimed to owe their allegiance to.

    Which begs the question: which part of the Constitution were they claiming to uphold by this open act of defiance? Are people in the UK allowed to pick and choose which parts of the law/constitution they will obey?

  • Dec

    More photographic evidence that undermines Quincey’s (latest) spirited ‘Nothing to see here’ defence:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/97924400@N00/4379769243/

  • between the bridges

    QD very Interesting leaflet, thanks for posting.
    the majority of detractors are stating that there is NO difference between the 1912 UVF and the 1966 UVF and that support/commemoration of one is in fact support for the other.
    However I am sure the same people would state that there IS a difference between the IRB, IRA, PRIRA, RIRA, CIRA etc. but perhaps their original assertions are correct? so to extend the logic all current SF voters are supporters of the IRA, and as there is no difference they are in fact supporters of the so called dissidents….

  • Between the Bridges,

    I’d have thought they were arguing that the idea that these supposedly purely historical flags are not very often cover for expressing support for the current UVF is naive at best, and disingenuous at worst.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Chris

    “Now, does any – or all of this – mean that a decision to fly flags bearing the letters “IRA” from lamp posts in mixed residential areas or as part of contentious parades is not either provocative or insensitive to the sentiments of the non – catholic community?

    Does the term “non catholic” community mean protestant community? If it does, I want you to know that the vast majority of people from this community, especially in the middle class areas wish that these people would stop ruining the look of our towns and villages. It’s an absolute disgrace that they are allowed to do it. The silence from Unionist politicians is deafening regarding these flags. I’m sure the majority of people from the Roman catholic community would also love to see the flags from their own area removed and never put back up again.

    By the way Chris there are many members of the Church of Ireland who would consider themselves to be catholic. Do you consider them to be part of the “non catholic” community?

  • between the bridges

    garibaldy. ‘I’d have thought they were arguing that the idea that these supposedly purely historical flags are not very often cover for expressing support for the current UVF is naive at best, and disingenuous at worst.’

    There are two 1912 UVF standards on display in my local C.O.I cathedral is it disingenuous to state that these are not displayed to show support of the 1966 UVF?

  • BTB,

    You’ll note I didn’t say always, but very often.

  • JR

    I have to say I don’t like flags of any sort in a church. I have alot of time for the COI but I really dislike the flags in church. I don’t thinl Jesus would have joined th UVF, old or new.

  • between the bridges

    GB. ah so it is possible to display 1912 UVF standards without supporting the 1966 UVF…

  • Millbag

    BTB

    There are two 1912 UVF standards on display in my local C.O.I cathedral

    Why are flags of a militia – legal or illegal – being displayed in a church?

  • andnowwhat

    Is there any connection between when the flying of paramilitary/terrorist flags was stamped on and when these flags suddenly became popular?

  • SK

    In this piece, Quincey censures those who equate hundred year old organisations with modern terrorist groups. The Unionist contributors agree.

    In a subsequent piece, Quincey changes his mind, and decides that you can link century-old organisations with the modern terrorists who have stole their acronyms. The Unionist contributors agree.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  • anne warren

    As I said SK there are contradictions at the heart of Loyalism and Unionism.

  • andnowwhat

    SK

    Is it not strange to contrast Quincey’s assertions here and those on the blog he did this morning?

    Is it that Quincey is saying, taking both blogs together, that only loyalist history has a place in the 21st century?

  • SK

    “Contradictions”? To coin a northern phrase, they’ve got more faces than the Albert clock.

    Here we see a unionist arguing passionately against the practice of comparing modern terrorist groups with militant organisations from the distant past.

    One day late and he has written another piece in which he argues exactly the opposite.

    Fascinating to behold.

  • SK

    “Is it that Quincey is saying, taking both blogs together, that only loyalist history has a place in the 21st century?”

    _

    It would be nice if Quincey could pick an opinion and stick with it.

  • between the bridges

    Or it could be he provided a copy of leaflet explaining the history of certain flags on one blog, and on another, he gave an opinion on a museum he visited? Given the impartial background of the last few posters imho it’s somewhat ironic to be pointing fingers…where’s the ball gone?

  • SK

    “Or it could be he provided a copy of leaflet explaining the history of certain flags on one blog, and on another, he gave an opinion on a museum he visited? Given the impartial background of the last few posters imho it’s somewhat ironic to be pointing fingers…where’s the ball gone?”

    _

    He wrote two contributions which directly contradict eachother. “Do as I say, not as I do” seems to be the philosophy underpinning Quincey’s writing.

    Am I breaking some kind of rule by pointing this out?

  • between the bridges

    SK, my comments weren’t solely directed at you, but as you have responded. i understand your point, but i don’t agree with it mainly because QD has acknowledged that his leaflet covers only one small aspect of history, therefore excusing the bias of the subject matter. (only so much you can put on a A4!!)
    On the other blog he gives his opinion on somewhere that is meant to cover all aspects of history? therefore raising question’s on the bias of the subject matter (maybe I’m picking this up wrong and the place only covers certain aspects of history?) tbh i am not particularly interested in the other blog as i haven’t visited the place, so i can’t really comment.

  • StewartFinn

    The UVF flag is a legitimate flag which could and should have been used to commemorate the 1912 volunteers and what they accomplished at the Somme etc etc

    I believe that the 1912 and modern day UVF are completely different and so the addition of ‘1912’ on a flag SHOULD seperate that from a modern day paramilitary orgainsation….however the flags are erected by modern day paramilitaries who see the addition of ‘1912’ as a loophole from the censor with the added convenience of providing legitimacy to them through the 1912 organisation. So even someone like me who has a sense of pride and history around the 1912 UVF sees a paramilitary flag wether it has ‘1912’ on it or not.

    I would add that in my (possibly perverted head) I do not think the same of the UVF colours on a uniform (although I am not in any Orange institution or band) I think that is OK and historic and different from the erecting of flags on lamposts which is clearly a paramilitary activity (when it is said UVF flag).

  • SK

    “The UVF flag is a legitimate flag which could and should have been used to commemorate the 1912 volunteers and what they accomplished at the Somme etc etc”

    _

    How can unionsts exhalt a group that threatened to deliver violence upon the ‘legitimate’ government of the day, while condemning those who would commemorate the old IRA for pretty much the same thing? Can none of you acknowledge the discrepancy?

  • StewartFinn

    I didnt mention the old IRA so there is no descrepancy in anything I said. I also highlighted the 1912 UVF’s accomplishments at the Somme as the reason for commemoration.

  • Millbag

    I don’t think the 36th Ulster Division, nor the 16th Irish achieved much beyond getting almost wiped out.

    When I visited the Somme Museum a few years back I came away quite angry. If you weren’t anti-war before you went in then there was a strong chance you were by the time you left.

    88,000 Allied soldiers lost for every one mile gained in the advance. Unbelievable casualties, practically all for nothing.

    Working class people mowing each other down at the behest of others, all in the name of imperialism.

    The Somme should most certainly be remembered, but not for any jingoistic reasons.

  • anne warren

    I agree with much of what Millibag wrote.

    The UVF is not mentioned, as far as I can recall, on any WWI monument in Flanders and/or Northern France.

  • StewartFinn

    I dont think that is all that relevant.

    Anti-war or not, they made a sacrifice, the only sacrifice and contribution that they could have made (especially at that point in history). That is to be admired. I dont however disagree with your comments on the futility of war and/or your comments on class etc I would simply seperate out the people (who are to be admired and remembered) from the system that led them there.

    As to not being mentioned on a monument, I dont know if that is true or not but that is definitely irrelevant, you dont need to be on a wall to have made a contribution to society – most people in life go unrecognised, that does not deminish their actions.

    I am not a flag waving unionist, orange order fan or anything and am certainly not a military history type either but I do think that the two world wars are important landmarks in our history and probably neither were avoidable. I think the sacrifice made by individuals is to be admired and remembered and especially for us, those who came from our island. I dont think that contribution should be diminshed because a)they died or b) their names arent on a wall, which seems to be the jist of the last two comments.

  • SK

    “Anti-war or not, they made a sacrifice, the only sacrifice and contribution that they could have made (especially at that point in history). That is to be admired.”

    _

    ‘Blood Sacrifice’ is not to be admired, regardless of whether it’s in a trench in Flanders or a post office in Dublin.

  • StewartFinn

    I disagree, admiring something and wanting it to happen again are not the same thing.

    I am opposed to all forms of violence – but in a time of World War when someone sacrifices their lives for other people/a nation/ a way of life I think that is to be admired AND never repeated.

  • SK

    “I am opposed to all forms of violence – but in a time of World War when someone sacrifices their lives for other people/a nation/ a way of life I think that is to be admired AND never repeated.”

    _

    It’s worth noting that the “Blood Sacrifice” fetish isn’t limited to republicans in that case.

  • StewartFinn

    I dont have a sacrifice fetish! – I just admire people that are prepared to make sacrifices for others, whether that is something as insignificant as time and energy, money up to and including their lives.

    If someone does something for me….or something I am not prepared or able to do – then I think that is admirable. It is not a complex position, one unique to me, or unionists or republicans (or even relevant to that dispute) I think it is a fairly common trait in humanity.

    I can still be opposed to war and violence.

  • SK

    “I can still be opposed to war and violence.”

    _

    The warriors you admire died pointless deaths in a pissing contest between empires. Does glorifying the act of ‘dying for ones country’ not merely encourage more pointless conflicts in the future?

  • Millbag

    Stewart

    I wasn’t diminishing their contribution, on the contrary, as you say they made the ultimate contribution with their lives. It’s just the sheer futility of it all that’s so galling, something that seems to be accepted without question by its commemorators.

    I know it wasn’t quite Operation-send-the-paddies-in-first, but it came close.

  • Millbag

    but in a time of World War when someone sacrifices their lives for other people/a nation/ a way of life I think that is to be admired AND never repeated.

    Hear, hear.

  • Stewart

    @Millbag
    Then we agree at least in part, as I certainly see the futility of what went on and indeed in what continues to go on in different arenas – I certainly would recognise that and see no contradiction in admiring what they did and felt they had to do (and what may well have been unavoidable in that time and in that place) and never wanting anyone to have to do that again.

    @SK

    “The warriors you admire died pointless deaths in a pissing contest between empires. Does glorifying the act of ‘dying for ones country’ not merely encourage more pointless conflicts in the future?”

    I suppose looking at it in the very simplist of terms that would be possible, but I think it depends on how it is remembered. As an example if a martyr is made of an Islamic terrorist – yes that seems to have the capability of creating more blood sacrifices because of how it is sold, how those people are remembered and what they are promised in the ‘afterlife’. I have however never heard anyone from Northern Ireland say that they wanted to go to war and die in a trench. It could I suppose encourage some people to join the military – but then the aim is not to be a ‘blood sacrifce’ and most countries need an army of some discription. Obviously I would prefer if that army was never engaged in a war.

  • Rory Carr

    “Does glorifying the act of ‘dying for ones country’ not merely encourage more pointless conflicts in the future?” SK

    It might well do, SK, indeed I should find it difficult to argue otherwise but I do think that it is more than a bit unfair to attribute such reasoning to StewartFinn . He has made no such allusion and indeed all that he has written on this thread would lead one to believe that that would be the very last consequence he would desire or indeed that he is advocating the glorification of death in battle. Rather he seems to me to simply be expressing an acknowledgement of the sacrifice made by men who lost their lives believing that they were doing so on behalf of others.

    Their motives were honorable enough in that regard and to recognise them does not imply acceptance, never mind glorification, of the motives of those profiteering war-mongers who sent them out to die.

  • Stewart

    @Rory Carr

    Bloody hell, someone who applies logic to a position and can seperate out thoughts – as opposed to knowing a person’s position on one thing and then making up the rest for themselves.

  • Lugh

    Is it not obvious that the UVF flags and Battle of the Boyne flags, and the many other Loyalist flags that fly tattered and torn from our street lights are nothing more than a ritual marking of territory and an attempt to make the other side feel threatened. It is an attempt to keep the tensions between the 2 sides alive. This is a serial problem in the Loyalist camp. If they really respected the flags they would not allow them to become so tattered and torn. If they really respected those who died it should not matter if they marched up and down a catholic area, and they may even choose respectful songs to play to. The clear object of all of this, flags and marching, is to antagonise the Irish populous. Unfortunately for the majority of supporters, it has nothing to do with respect for the dead.

  • Rapunsell

    Sorry, don’t understand the editor’s note. Where’s the leaflet that the comments relate to?

  • Stewart

    @Lugh

    You are partially right, like I said in a previous post the UVF flag in particular has been engulfed into a new paramiltary culture and its historic significance is probably irretrievable.

    I completely agree with the disrespect shown even to national flags (tri-colour included) as they fly fadded and tattered from lamposts and buildings.

    I agree too with the marking of territory (to a certain extent) however I think it has very little to do with the ‘Irish populous’ as you describe it. I think it has more to do with a symbol of power and territory internal to the Unionist/Loyalist community. Would be interesting to see the percentage of flags placed at interfaces, most I have seen are within largely ‘single identity’ areas. I am not disputing that what you say is true of some or has been true in the past, but I do not see it as the current or most dominant motivator.

  • Rapunsell it appears that in the haste to spread the word the final draught has not been approved and that the numerous typos will be corrected.
    Slugger as a proof reading service! Who’d have thunk it

  • Rapunsell

    Mooch. You reckon? Bugger all to do with typos I reckon. Maybe Quincey will enlighten us all? Here’s an idea do you think the Community Relations Council could live with public funds being used by a community group to produce propaganda to justify the illegal flying of illegal paramilitary organisation flags?

    I reckon Quincey has been touting his leaflet on slugger without permission from either REACT or CRC and someone’s not too happy with him??

  • Rory Carr

    Moochin,

    For any part that I have played may I say that I am only too happy to have helped.

    It is all part of my personal “reaching out” initiative.

  • between the bridges

    Rapunsell Old chap; it is considered jolly bad form to spoil it for others, on their congratulatory self gratification fest, just because you want your own….