August 07, 2015

Sinn Fein revisionism

Gerry Adams wrote about the 'Good Old IRA', equating the PIRA to the IRA that brought about partition 
Sinn Fein and IRA were not about attaining human rights but about attaining a united Irish socialist republic at the cost of human rights and human life. Most of the Civil Rights demands Sinn Fein claim the Provisional IRA secured through violence were achieved before the organization was even born at the end of 1969 In 1972 the IRA announced that they would rid Ireland of the British even if they had “to demolish Belfast brick-by-brick”. Martin McGuinness said around 1973:
"It doesn’t matter a fuck what John Hume says, we’ll go on fighting until we get a united Ireland."
E.L. Doctorow wrote: "History is the present. That’s why every generation writes it anew." Newton Emerson wrote:
"The rewriting of the Troubles as a fight for equality is most associated with Sinn Fein, which needs to explain why the IRA kept fighting for 20 years after all the demands of the Civil Rights Association had been met, while still not delivering a united Ireland."
Henry McDonald wrote too:
"They try to recast 35-plus years of murder, mayhem and sabotage as somehow a more radical form of civil rights struggle, rather than what it really was – the attempted armed destruction of the Northern Ireland state, which their political representatives now happen to help run."
Tom Kelly wrote in the Irish News:
"Gerry kelly recently said young people like him in the early 1970s had no choice but to join the IRA but that is simply not true. Back then as now they had choices. The Sunningdale Agreement in 1973 was actually stronger in nationalist terms than either the Good Friday or Saint Andrews Agreement. The vast majority of young nationalists did not join the ranks of the IRA. Had they, the Maze would have been five times the size it is."
Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote:
"An Irish revisionist is one who, like me, believes that the cult of Patrick Pearse and of blood-sacrifice has helped the emergence of the Provisional IRA, is in other ways unhealthy, and ought to be challenged.
Fintan O'Toole wrote:
"In practice, the IRA has functioned at times purely as a Catholic sectarian murder squad, slaughtering Protestants simply because of their religion."
Conall Parr wrote:
"Republicans are fond of telling us about how they read books and histories in contrast to the ‘uneducated’ of Unionism (and indeed other groups they disagree with). Yet a basic consultation of such histories would in fact reveal that most of the Civil Rights demands they claim the Provisional IRA secured during their armed campaign were achieved before the organization was even born at the end of 1969."
Newton Emerson wrote in The Sunday Times April 27 2014 :
"This argument [that the Provisional campaign smashed the "Orange state”, delivered “equality”, and provided a political path to Irish unity] is an audacious rewrite of recent history but it appears to have been accepted wholesale by a new generation."
Newton Emerson wrote in the Sunday Times of February 16 2014:
"The "fight for equality” justification for the Troubles fools few who lived through them, but it has been swallowed whole by a new generation of Sinn Fein voters, creating a poisonous sense that unionists deserved what they got - and the violence (however “regrettable”) worked."
Newton Emerson also wrote:
"I didn’t say the IRA started the Troubles. I said Sinn Fein is advancing an anti-discrimination ‘fight for equality’ narrative as a consistent explanation for why the Troubles began and ended.”
Newton Emerson wrote that Northern Ireland's youth have inherited their parents’ peace-process fictions without experiencing the Troubles, a process he described, "constructive ambiguity has become their tribal certainty, with disturbing implications."

Newton Emerson wrote an article in the Irish News, 'Re-inventing a national liberation struggle as an anti-discrimination campaign'. For Newton Emerson the IRA was not fighting to end discrimination in Northern Ireland, it was fighting to end the existence of Northern Ireland. Newton Emerson wrote in June 2013:
"Why target a Catholic judge in response to anti-Catholic discrimination? Why kill his Catholic school-teacher daughter and try to kill his Catholic wife? Why do it outside a Catholic church as the family left Mass? Was the social position of the Travers family not what the IRA’s anti-discrimination freedom fighters were supposedly fighting for?"
Newton Emerson also wrote an article in the Irish News in October 2011, 'Mainstream northern nationalism is talking itself into the idea of a “necessary” IRA campaign':
"This is a matter of opinion but objectively these articles reveal a great deal about changing nationalist opinion. Middle-class, literate Ms Devlin is no classic chanter of “Up the 'RA”. To the extent that she is representative, she reflects a revisionist process now well underway in what was once the SDLP’s core constituency. 
Few people ever believed the IRA was solely responsible for the Troubles. But post-ceasefire, as Sinn Fein’s vote began to rise, most people did believe those votes were a reward for peace. The SDLP even thought they were on loan for peace, bless them. 
Fast-forward 15 years and Ms Devlin is suggesting that a vote for Sinn Fein is also a reward for war, justified to “expunge tyranny” and successful in making “advances”. 
This is a significant change in received wisdom. In the 1990s it was commonly felt that while the IRA had bombed its way to the negotiating table there was consequently less on that table for nationalists than 20 years before. 
Most of the aims of the Civil Rights Movement had been achieved by 1972. The Good Friday Agreement was famously “Sunningdale for slow learners”, minus the council of Ireland and Articles 2 and 3. If the IRA campaign had ever been justified, its justification was long gone and thousands had died in a counter-productive stalemate. The number of people who really thought the IRA had been right to fight on must have been no more than the 10 per cent who voted for Sinn Fein at the time."
Newton Emerson wrote in the Sunday Times in October 2011:
"This placating consensus has had an indulgent effect on Sinn Fein’s northern base. Nationalist and republican Northern Ireland is convincing itself that the entire span of the Troubles was a justifiable war. McGuinness’s campaign brought this view into focus, along with its divergence from southern opinion."
Newton Emerson also wrote:
"During the Troubles the vast majority of the nationalist electorate pointedly rejected IRA violence but since the ceasefires a reassessment of that violence was necessary and warranted by ‘unionist misrule’ has crept into the nationalist mainstream. 
By extension, as Mr Kavanagh seemed to imply, a ‘discriminatory’ special advisers bill threatens to take us back to where we started. In fact, there is no risk to peace from this minor inconvenience to Sinn Fein’s party machine. 
A far greater threat is pretending the entire 30-year span of the IRA campaign was justified, its violence was successful and victims like Mary Travers were an accidental aberration. A clumsy law may be a small price to pay to remind ourselves that this was not the case.”
Also he wrote:
"I don’t know what equality measures were achieved as a result of violence. Five of the six demands of the Civil Rights Movement were achieved very early on before violence got going, the Housing Executive was a Hume idea, fair employment legislation was put in place in the teeth of Provo violent opposition and the Provos opposed every aspect of the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement.”
He also wrote:
"The main reforms took place in 1968, nearly 2 years before the formation of the SDLP, directly as a result of the actions of NICRA. Of course, some members of NICRA went on to prominence in the SDLP. 
Not only did the Provos not achieve reforms, they didn’t actually want reforms – having a single entirely different objective in mind: a united Ireland. Judged against their sole aim, their achievements were nearly 2000 deaths and no actual progress.”
Malachi O'Doherty wrote:
"But the major part of the Sinn FĂ©in support base, which is now most of the nationalist community, maintains it loyalty to the party and Gerry Adams as a reward for peacemaking. It wouldn’t daunt them were it to emerge that he has blood on his hands; they like him because they know he made war and credit him with having changed. 
True, most nationalists rejected the IRA during its armed campaign and voted instead for the SDLP which opposed violent revolution. But those distinctions are dissolving. Last month Clonard monastery in west Belfast held a mass for "the patriot dead”, bringing together families of dead IRA bombers and killers. That’s how respectable a past in the IRA has become."
Warren Little wrote about Gerry Adams’ and Sinn Fein doublespeak in, ‘Spectre of the terrified still hangs over Sinn Fein’:
"‘Treat Orangemen with respect…the Order is one of our national traditions’, declares Adams, while tweets to the website remind us that his ‘comrades’ killed over 330 Orangemen without apology. And so it continues, all through his speech. It’s a poke in the eye and nothing more, but a reflection of a certain credibility deficit Sinn Fein has and always will have. People who have seen the dirt in Sinn Fein’s kitchen will never swallow the food that comes out of it, no matter how appetising it’s made to look. 
'Rural Ireland under attack!’ exhorts Gerry, while the farmers of the Fermanagh borders knew what real attack looks like; stalked and murdered as they were from hedgerows as they sat in their tractors, their families and neighbours fleeing their hearths in panic, never to return. ‘Solidarity to all victims of the conflict’ he offers from afar. But his phoney embrace is lost in the wind as he tramples down the clay on Truth’s grave. 
The Sinn Fein faithful learns early on how to deal with confrontations. They know how to wrap up these horrible crimes and repackage them, nice and tidy. ‘Bad things happen in a war. No one has a monopoly on suffering. What about Bloody Sunday.”
Cillian McGrattan wrote:
"Peaceful, justifiable opposition to discrimination once did occur in Northern Ireland and the civil rights movement made serious advances towards equality; the terrorists’ campaigns stymied and killed those advances."
Newton Emerson wrote:
"When Sinn Fein’s support rose after the 1994 IRA ceasefire, it was seen as a reward for peace. How much of its support now is a retrospective endorsement of war? Republican commentators sneered at a “Dublin establishment” that stands in tribute at the GPO but recoils in horror from Gerry Adams."
Asked who his favourite fictional character was, Colin Bateman (@ColinBateman) said, "Ian Paisley or Martin McGuinness." Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote:
"An ‘Irish revisionist’ is not a deviant Marxist, a Hibernian disciple of the late Eduard Bernstein. An Irish revisionist is one who, like me, believes that the cult of Patrick Pearse and of blood-sacrifice has helped the emergence of the Provisional IRA, is in other ways unhealthy, and ought to be challenged. O'Casey’s sin, in the eyes of anti-revisionists like Mr Deane, is to have written plays—'Juno and the Paycock’ especially—that depict manic nationalism, and its consequences, in an unfavourable light. Yeats, on the other hand, was generally pretty sound on subjects like blood-sacrifice, as anti-revisionists see these matters. 'The script calls for freshly severed human heads’."
My last post on this topic can be read here and here.
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