Archive for May, 2014

Responses to the Brussels Jewish Museum Massacre

Some responses to expressions of grief/rage/fear by people, especially Jewish people, arising from the murder of the Brussels Four:
“Sure, it’s very bad, but you know that [other minority groups/peoples/religions] get attacked too. It’s important not to forget that”.
“Sure, it’s very bad, but I am a [racial/sexual/religious minority member] and you would not believe the kind of shit we have to up with.”
“Yes, very shocking indeed. Two of the dead were Israelis though. We mustn’t be silent about that [there follows a lengthy exposition on The Occupation, The Settlements, The Apartheid Wall etc.].
“I am shocked and appalled by this senseless act. That said, I think we have to recognize that as Jews everywhere/we Jews are all potential Israeli citizens then they/we have a special responsibility to make clear their/our opposition to the [The Genocide against the Palestinians, Israeli Apartheid etc. etc.]”.

People who say things like this are expressing racist views, to a greater or lesser extent (you’d have to know whether they had form on this topic to be really sure about the degree). Where possible they should have this explained to them and if they don’t reconsider they should be shunned


Gerry Adams and Dealing with Victory

 Come on guys, we won the war, often using decidedly savage methods, but still, it was the right outcome, and after all the other side wasn’t exactly covering itself in glory from a human rights point of view either. And now the losers have accepted the democratic legitimacy of your sovereignty where they live and are actively participating in the autonomous government there. Some of them even talk like they have swallowed the complete works of Jürgen Habermas.

 What more do we expect the losers to do?  “Answer for their crimes before the courts”, you say. Well fine, let’s do that. But the only way that is going to be politically and morally viable is for everyone to answer for everything they did, winners and losers alike.  Otherwise we’ll be making a distinction between good and necessary crimes (ours) and foul and unjustifiable ones (theirs).

“A truth and reconciliation commission, what about that?” Not a bad idea and some kind of process that will recognize the suffering of victims and provide them with reliable information about what happened to them and their family is long overdue.  Again, however, *everyone* would have to fess up to make this work.

But some people are sounding  like they don’t want either of those options. It seems they aren’t satisfied with winning the war and having the losers become one of the guarantors of their sovereignty where they – the losers –  live.  It seems that there are some who want the losers to crawl, to cringe before them and admit that, unlike you and me, they are very bad people indeed.  It isn’t going to happen. It didn’t happen in South Africa or El Salvador, to give just two examples, and won’t happen in Colombia either.

Queen Elizabeth II had the former military head of the campaign to end her rule in part of her kingdom around for dinner the other day.  It’s quite possible that this man personally dispatched soldiers and policemen who had sworn loyalty to her. He certainly instructed others to do so. One of the victims of his campaign was a close relative of hers.

It feels a bit strange to say so but there is no denying it;  on this issue I’m a lot closer to Elizabeth Windsor than to many of my friends, Facebook and otherwise.

The Arrest of Gerry Adams

Q: Is Gerry Adams a bad man?

A: An exceptionally bad one, he was one of the principal architects of a campaign of heavily sectarian violence which cost thousands of lives.

Q: So all decent people should be pleased that he is currently under arrest.

A: I am not so sure. As well as being an exceptionally bad man he also achieved a remarkable political feat; he turned the movement which carried out the campaign mentioned above into pretty much the exact opposite of what it had been before and all the while proclaiming loyalty to its original goals. And he got almost all of his own supporters to follow him. And he didn’t get killed along the way as a result. Imagine turning the Sinaloa cartel into the local subsidiary of the DEA, something like that.

While we can’t know his deep motives for doing this among them must have been the fact that he could see that he and his friends were losing the war against the British state. And the methods the British state employed: mass internment, torture, deniable killings by loyalist death squads, allowing informants in the PIRA to carry out grave crimes in order to keep credible with the comrades they were snitching on etc. weren’t very nice either. People up on their moralising high horses about his arrest should remember that. You supported the defeat of the PIRA and you supported all that too. I certainly did. Dirty hands and all that. 

Q. But regardless, surely he should pay for the crimes he is personally responsible for.

A. I agree. If the British state has suddenly decided that everyone who committed a grave crime in NI over the last 45 years should answer to the cops and courts for his or her actions then I am all for that. And if that is indeed what happened then I expect we will soon see a wave of arrests of former British soldiers, RUC special branch, int & squint types and a whole variety of ex-spooks too, so that they can face justice for what they did. And if we don’t see that, and particularly if Adams and only Adams has to face charges for his crimes, then I will be obliged to conclude that there is some political motive to all this, the nature of which escapes my understanding at the moment.

Q: So, so, you support this vile man !!!! 

A: No, you have not been paying attention, I do not. My family is blue shirt to the core. Our political forebearers took sterner measures against proto-provoism than the British ever dared to in Northern Ireland.

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