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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I was in the Provos ...


... and all I got was this lousy power-sharing executive.

Well, I wasn't, but a lot of people I'm aware of, have met, have socialised with, were part of the militant Republican movement.

The war was declared over some years back. Now the British overlords have confirmed that the transition to mainstream political activity is complete.

I suppose there wasn't much time left for Martin McGuinness (see pic, far right) to be holding IRA council meetings since his day job as Deputy First Minister to Ian Paisley and Mr Iris Robinson (who himself was a terrorist in his day, as the people of Clontibret can testify, see pic below) takes up so many hours.

But today's final nail in the Provo coffin must be hard to bear for some of the ground level volunteers - the people who took a guerilla war to what were often violent, brutish and sadistic British troops.

They've got out of prison early, which I wasn't a great fan of. But where are they now, the best years of their lives spent fighting a civil war or incarcerated? Sure some of them have got nice state jobs like Marty McGuinness, as 'community workers' and the like.

But most of them must now be wondering what was it all for? This paltry power-sharing deal? The same deal as Sunningdale offered so many decades ago? For Martin McGuinness to swan around preposterously posing as a peacemaker to Iraqis?

And what of the victims? Not just the victims of Provo attacks, but the victims of Provo domination of neighbourhoods, the victims of Provo intimidation of individuals, the victims of Provo insistence that they and only they could speak for Irish Republicanism?

How do they feel today?

Well, the Unionists now have what they wanted. They have Stormont back, they have made the IRA go away, they have their gerrymandered veto on Irish reunification. They have their pet Provos in the ha'penny power places.

18 comments:

Missing Neighbour said...

Be careful there. You are starting to sound worryingly like that cretin Jim Cusack. If only things were as simple as you portray them. The huge elephant in the room and the one question that never seems to be addressed by anyone in the mainstream media or political cohort is why the PIRA sprung into existence and gained widespread and popular support in the first place. Now the question itself is a very easy one to answer but the answer just isn't that palatable to that many people. They existed because they were very much needed at the time. A peaceful form of resistance was tried and very quickly brutalised and ignored out of existence. I agree that the time had indeed come for the disbanding and disarming of the organisation as it had clearly served its purpose and had made the denizens of the corridors of power sit up and pay attention. I also think that it will be a very long time before any Unionist or British government will try and dole out the rampant degrading and dehumanising treatment that was par for the course during the 60's, 70's and early 80's in Northern Ireland. I am just glad it is all over to be honest and new structures and statutes are in place that (hopefully) should ensure that it never has to happen in place. I have never believed that the PIRA were terrorists anyway. By that logic the USA is a terrorist state as it was formed by the war of independence. What are the British doing here anyway?

JC Skinner said...

I think you misunderstand my logic.
If the purpose of PIRA was to obtain the civil rights that the movement marched over in 67 and 68, then there probably wasn't need for a military campaign beyond Sunningdale, even after Sunningdale's collapse.
If the purpose of PIRA was to create the conditions for reunification and to drive the British occupying forces out of Ireland, then it patently hasn't been achieved.
There's a unionist veto in place, no facility for a white paper in Dail Eireann, British forces still occupying part of Ireland, and not even a state claim of the island as a single territory in the constitution of the Republic anymore.
My overwhelming feeling is that the Republican leadership sold out its principles for a slice of political power.
The only difference between the deal today and the deal in the Seventies is that the Provisionals are propping up the Stormont regime now.

Conan Drumm said...

I see why you would concentrate on NI but the legacy of the ra (off+/pira & its slpinters eg INLA) sth of the border has never really been looked at. It brought the gun into Irish crime far earlier than would have otherwise have happened - the infamous bank and PO roberies of the 1970s. And they established supply lines for illegal firearms into Ireland that never had anything to do with politics.

Btw, the way to make a judgement call on the 'is it terrorism' question is to evaluate the effects on victims, not the intentions of the perpetrators. A bank teller held up at gunpoint is terrorised, whether the motivation is 'criminal' or 'political'.

JC Skinner said...

In my defence, I didn't call PIRA terrorists in my rant above.
I referred to them as guerilla militants, which seems more accurate.
Some PIRA members were not only terrorists but nasty pieces of work too.
The vast majority, however, I do not consider to have been terrorists.
The only person I called a terrorist was Peter Robinson. He terrorised Clontibret, just as his harridan wife has been terrorising the gay community.

sheepworrier said...

I'd be very careful about your wording there JC - that rant could be interpreted as condoning the recent actions of our current little bunch of fuckwits up here who seem to think they have any sort of popular support among nationalist / republican communities.
People are tired of the fighting. The south obviously and understandably don't want us. What is the alternative?

JC Skinner said...

The dissidents, you mean?
No, I don't condone their activities whatsoever. I think I made it clear in my response to Missing Neighbour that I don't see any justification for any military actions post-Sunningdale, which was quite some time ago.
I don't accept that the people of the 26 counties don't want the North at all.
Polls consistently indicate a very large majority are in favour of reunification.
what is crystal clear is that Fianna Fail (the Republican Party [sic]), the neo-Unionist Fine Gael and the other Dail parties have no intention at all of pursuing unification.
Why has no one, not even PSF, produced a paper on unification?
How can people decide the merits of unification without seeing the detail? And yet a large majority of the people still want to see it happen.
I think that if PSF want to be taken seriously as Irish Republicans, they should force the hand of Fianna Fail by tabling a white paper on reunification in the Dail, and I think they should formulate it as a federalist construction that would retain a regional parliament in Stormont.
Then let's see what the Unionists have to say about that.

sheepworrier said...

There's a very real perception up here that we are not wanted by the south, and even if we were, who would want the inevitable bloodshed that would follow?

Reunification is a nice idea, but in practice it would involve yet another terror campaign. You need to take into account the sensitivites of the majority unionist population (whether you believe they have a right to be here or not), and any serious consideration or debate in the Dail about such a prospect would set us back about 15 years. What do you think would happen if Downing Street called for a similar action on total annexation?

JC Skinner said...

No, it wouldn't, especially if everyone was very familiar with the proposed format of reunification and its ramifications in advance.
Mind you, the Loyalist guns are still out there now (don't hear any unionist politicians clamouring for their destruction or removal beyond use). But I hope they will be dealt with in the short term, long before any unification process can be commenced.
Why do you think I believe unionists have 'no right' to be where they come from and live? That's a preposterous notion.
They are as Irish as anyone else on the island, and the fact that they assume British citizenship does not in any way erode that.
Downing Street, and indeed the people of Britain in general, would be only too happy to be shot of a place that they see as retrograde and difficult and a drain on their resources.
The challenge for Irish nationalism is to demonstrate to those of a unionist tradition that they have nothing to fear inside an Irish state.
You'd think they might have picked that up from the growth of the Protestant Churches and the Orange Order in the Republic, and the Dublin funding of things like the Boyne and 'Ulster-Scots' [sic]. But perhaps yet more convincing is needed for a people so attached to their own siege mentality.

Informer said...

FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST ain't gonna be shouted from the rafters when Irish Unification happens in the future. The reasons for this are simple, economy will suffer, people and businesses that have been cushioned for years on British subsidies will falter, sectarian strife will increase 20 fold, as showing by the Serbian/kosovo problems, and people lost their lives for a political game played by cold hearted murderers for a seat in Stormont regardless of their own political views. I remember fighting with the police and soldiers for most of my child hood, growing up in the Lodge. I was fed a daily diet of bomb and bullet for breakfast, diner and tea. The hunger strikes were terrible days for people on the inside, but also people on the outside. My mum was allowing men in and out of the house with terrible things on their minds, she even kept several bin lids in the hall to warn the lads the authorities where about, waking us children out of our sleep at all hours. But as you get older and see what the damage does to the victims of the so called war, punishment attacks, cars and houses destroyed, communities turning against themselves and each other. It is like a cancer within, I am well glad it is over and hopefully people can debate the differences and iron out the shared future.
JC it sounds like your a bit of a closet 'Sticky', my da would say that it was over in 72 when men were men and the British took over the conflict?!

JC Skinner said...

I'm no sticky, stoop, provo, dissident, or castle catholic.
The term is Irish nationalist.
I believe in the nation of Ireland and it's peoples, catholic, protestant, dissenter, jew, sikh, muslim, buddhist and yes, even the godless atheist.

Anonymous said...

Would you lift the phone to inform on the freedom fighter then?

JC Skinner said...

What freedom fighter?

Informer said...

Talk about skirting the issue? Why not call a spade a spade JC! If someone acts in a threatening manner either verbally or otherwise, is he not a terroriser? But if a man defends his country by blowing up people in Omagh to blacken the dissidents is he not a terrorist too? For some reason people seem to be great talkers, but won't commit themselves to call a spade a spade! Any true nationalist would agree that the troubles were nothing more than people being terrorised, and most of the victims of the troubles where used to enhance the disorder and prolong the agony of the country. As I said before, the victims were either setup to be A: Infomer, B: Paramilitary, or C: Criminal. Eyes Wide Open now, can we have justice place sir for Pierce Jordan (setup by an Informer) working for the Paramilitaries and Police/MI5, and for McCartney setup by Republicans and Hamill, and the list goes ever on until someone stands up and says enough games, PUT YOUR OWN LIFE ON THE LINE.

So is a freedom fighter someone to lift the phone up on and tell the authorities?

JC Skinner said...

I don't know what a freedom fighter is. That's why I asked before.
The paramilitaries of NI were a motley mix of out-and-out drug dealers and gangsters all the way through to principled guerilla militants.
But none of them were freedom fighters in my eyes.
As Conan said about terrorism, freedom fighting is a perception in the eye of the beholder.

Anonymous said...

So is a freedom fighter someone to lift the phone up on and tell the authorities?

Informer said...

Just to give the general reader an idea of what a freedom fighter is, here is a link to Knight an Ulster Freedom Fighter who killed on behalf of his beliefs.

http://fenian32.livejournal.com/4054171.html?view=51611#t51611

If someone would have lifted the phone to warn the police, this might not have happened, but in the otherhand Knight would be dead as a tout if it did not go ahead! So by the operation being allowed to continue he is allowed to live by his Informer/MI5 handler as he is not a tout. But the families are left to pick up the pieces to save his life?!

Informer said...

What that I hear a frog sound to the left, an owl hooting in the distance, and I think that noise was a cricket. Good thing though, no 'bleating of the lamb' in the dead of night!

Interpretation = Silence of the lamb.

The reality is JC that you talk the talk as usual while people that live up here in the Nort are left to pick up the pieces of the so called Freedom Fighters either prod or taig. You will not commit yourself either way, as in one hand you could offend your friends that have lost family members to GUNMEN, not people 'Loose talking'! If they were friends they would forgive you for growing up and making your own decisions on these things, not lambasting you when it does not match what they think. Friends go beyond that, that is why they are not friends of mine m8, you can keep em!

Suppose if it was one of your family members in the scope you would call the authorities, but when it is some ramdom guy that they have crimilized, politizised and they killed off, why should you care as you have shown in the past. Take me of your post please as you are spineless, if not if will go straight to spam filter.

Adios

JC Skinner said...

If anyone can translate that last comment for me, please go ahead.
Informer: I haven't a clue what you're saying. I can tell you that this site has an opt-in subscription.
If you get it in your email, that's because you chose to. No one gets spammed here.
I urge you to get some medical assistance. Your ranting and raving has a psychiatric edge to it which cannot be helping your peace of mind.