McGuinness’s Al Jazeera interview: Terrorism, conflict and a popular peace

This is a fascinating encounter between Martin McGuinness and a canny and formidable interlocutor from Al Jazeera Mehdi Hasan… To keep it simple, the programme is split into two sections, one to do with the wartime stuff, and the second part on the journey towards peace.

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  • derrydave

    Really enjoyed that – thanks for posting Mick. Will definitely be googling similar debates. Surprised me that Martin didn’t correct the interviewer more on the targeting of innocents – it’s obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the IRA that this was not their purpose or approach. If they intended targeting innocent civilians then why on earth would the concept of a telephoned warning even exist – utterly ridiculous, and am surprised that martin wasn’t stronger in addressing. Very interesting debate however.

  • SDLP supporter

    Sleveen hypocrisy from derrydave and attempted re-writing from “they were really gentlemen’ school of revisionist history.

    The Provos may not gone all out for killing as many civilians as possible as appears to be happening in Syria and elsewhere today but, if their targets were Army, police, UDR, etc., they were remarkably inefficient killers with a high ratio of civilian deaths to intended targets and in too many cases they just didn’t give a damn. Claudy is a case in point, but then Marty would know all about that.

    If the purpose of terrorism is inducing mortal fear among ordinary people for their lives and those of their loved ones, the Provos and the other paramilitary scum were pretty adept at it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ball, not man!!

  • I watched it a few days ago and was surprised by Martin McGuinness’ weak responses to the aggressive interview-style adopted by Mehdi Hasan. There were several occasions when I thought McGuinness was going to drop his standard softly-softly approach and skewer Hasan’s partisan arguments but no, he just stuck to the usual “Peace Process” script. A poor and at times almost apologetic performance when it came to explaining and defending core Republican values (and history) in relation to the armed struggle, etc. Hasan and co. were ripe to be pilloried for their own hypocrisy and double-standards in relation to “violence” but McGuinness just seemed incapable of taking the opportunities to do so when presented with them. And there were many.

  • SDLP supporter

    OK, Mick, just got my copy of ‘Lost Lives’. The Provos killed 636 civilians and 904 people who could have been construed on their warped definition as ‘targets’. Not good.

    It’s a bit sickening when you read Billy Hutchinson in the Newsletter today completely unregretful about murdering two Catholic civilian postmen in 1974. It “helped prevent a united Ireland”, don’t you know. And then Hutchinson casually character-assassinating the memory of the two men by maintaining they had “links to the IRA”, although the Judge at the time completely discounted this.

    No difference in mentality and weasel words between McGuinness and Hutchinson.

  • Son of Strongbow

    The hypocrisy and dishonesty that underpinned the nonsense of the ‘war’ rhetoric and Sinn Fein’s murder machine is easily exposed when a Shinner is put before an interviewer who ignores the soundbites and spin that make up Sinn Fein propaganda.

    The local media have been immersed for far too long in the poodle school of journalism where Sinn Fein goes unchallenged. BBCNI and UTV hacks should be sat down and forced to watch the Al Jazeera interview, although I doubt it would have any impact on them.

    Perhaps they are scared that the invites to Connolly House would dry up, or is it simply incompetence? It might be that they’ve taken a look at sites such as Slugger where any questioning of the Shinners has the Drones whinging about unfair bias?

    Whatever it is local journalists are in the main just too comfortable with the soft question and the fluffy status quo.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    “If they intended targeting innocent civilians then why on earth would the concept of a telephoned warning even exist…”

    Did the workers on the bus at Kingsmill miss their customary telephone warning?

  • tacapall

    “No difference in mentality and weasel words between McGuinness and Hutchinson”

    I agree with what you say above SDLP but using lost lives as a yardstick for figures after the almost daily churn out of revelations about collusion by the RUC or British intelligence with the various paramilitaries on both sides. Do you blame the puppet for the actions of the puppet master. The difference between McGuinness types and Hutchinson types it seems is simply histrionics by unionist politicians who have the ability to run with the foxes and hunt with the hounds whenever the need arises.

  • Morpheus

    I love the format of this interview and would love to see it used more in Northern Ireland – a prepared, knowledgeable interviewer and an interviewee with nowhere to go.

  • Morpheus

    Just as a follow-on, the interviewer, Mehdi Hasan, did an excellent interview with Russell Brand regarding society, politics, voting, capitalism etc. – same kind of format.

    It’s long but if you can ignore Brand’s attempts at humor (not to my taste of I am honest) it is an excellent watch

  • socaire

    I was about to jump in there and give off about kicking PSF when they were down and then I remembered that PSF are not down – they’re up and the voices of moderation and good sense 🙂 are down. Heh heh.

  • Charles_Gould

    The IRA was unjust – and Sinn Féin now realise this.

  • IrelandNorth

    Language is the violence of the unheard. Therefore, those who do not listen ab inition could be considered aural terrorists. Violence comes in many shapes and sizes. One can have political, military, paramilitary, and/or constitutional violence. Smart alec semantics like “terrorism” and “terrorists” precipitates political violence from a grievious sense of injustice from that patriarchal prejudice and class condescension. As the recently deceased Tony Benn prophisied that Margareth Thatcher and succeeding British PMs had and would continue to sup with those they considered terrorists.

  • Rory Carr

    I have to say that I found myself squirming with acute embarrassment the longer McGuinnness went on. Was this the same man who so ably stood up to the likes of Paxman in the run-up to and during the peace negotiations ? Surely not. He seemed more focused on defending and justifying the persona of Martin McGuinness, Man of Peace, than of explaining the roots of the conflict and the tactical limitations placed upon an organisation engaged in guerilla warfare in a small, highly militarised theatre. That he allowed Charlie Wolfe to steal the mantra of ‘unintended collateral damage’ as the excuse for the untold thousands of deaths from US and allied bombings was quite unforgivable.

    When faced with the quietly reasoned yet deadly pointed intervention from Colin Parry, the response of the Deputy First Minister was of the order of, “It wasn’t me, sir, it was them other boys. I’m a good boy, sir. I was doing my homework at the time.”

    I have to say, Martin, bloody cringeworthy. The dissidents will have taken much heart from that performance and may indeed use the recording as a recruitment tool.

    I can imagine the likes of Dixie Elliot saying, “What did I tell ye, Rory ?” and I having no answer for him.

    Thank you, Martin, you have left at least one staunch supporter ‘eyeless in Ghaza’, yet stll shorn.