Failed Entity

Anthony McIntyre writing in the Belfast Telegraph about recent attacks on the homes of two Belfast nationalists. 

Low-level yes, but attacks break acceptable level of violence test

Whether the weekend attacks on the Belfast homes of two former IRA leaders were as serious or as ominous as to merit the amount of news coverage they have received, is a moot point. They were clearly lacking in the level of fatal intent which took the life of Real IRA figure Jo O’Connor in West Belfast, 18 years ago.

Neither O’Connor’s Provisional IRA assassins nor their political representatives have yet approached the dead man’s relatives to explain the rationale behind his killing. Presumably, like the weekend attacks on homes, there was no logic that can be explained, just a self-serving, self-referential one that cannot be explained.

Whether the work of organised physical force republicanism or the hatching of some lone wolf plan, the attacks were certainly without a semblance of political justification or strategic nous.

They occur at a time when there has been an upsurge in politically violent activity by republicans. While there may be no link between sustained rioting in Derry and attacks on the cenotaph in Newry, insert the volatility of Brexit into the incendiary marching and bonfire season and the North reveals its susceptibility to cyclical downturns, from which it will recover until the next one.

Decades ago the level of threat posed would have satisfied the yearning of many British politicians for what was termed an acceptable level of violence. Today, aided by the coercion poachers having become consent gamekeepers, expectations are higher and the threshold for acceptability has been considerably recalibrated.

There is a lesson to be drawn from the men who were attacked rather than the attack itself. They are now the most robust defenders of the consent principle, having failed absolutely to usurp it. In their day they stormed the walls of consent only to be repelled and ultimately transformed by it. The current republican activity is like a mild breeze compared against that storm. Like the Provisional IRA, their inheritors too will implode on the rock of consent, their activity as transformatively plausible as a rain dance during the recent heat wave. If they follow reason rather than tradition, the attackers might yet come to understand that the men they targeted embody a logic: “the failed political entity” is republicanism, not the Northern state. 

Anthony McIntyre blogs @ The Pensive Quill.

Follow Anthony McIntyre on Twitter @AnthonyMcIntyre      

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

7 comments to ''Failed Entity"

  1. After Jock Davison was shot, it was said by commentators in deliberate, ‘under statement of the year’ fashion, that the Belfast PIRA command wouldn’t just sit around waiting to be next. How this plays out, whether those who carried out the operation can be protected longer than 3 months (when cops surveillance typically drops off) will be revealing.

  2. Anthony,
    Your brutal honesty depresses me.

  3. "the failed political entity” is republicanism - is it not more those who lauded it after remoulding it to their own desire rather than the ideology itself that is the failure? Perhaps that would explain the attack on the homes of two prominent 'remoulders' after all it is difficult to physically attack an ideology.

  4. I think if anything to come out of this farce is if there is a grain of truth to be believed in some media reports that PIRA and the "dissidents"are looking to discover the identity and to severely deal with whoever carried out this prank,as if in some common bond to protect the "leadership", and this is the rub for me , Why would anyone one calls themselves republican want to attack anyone who either verbally or physically attack quisling collaborators willing to call on the public to tout on the activities on other republicans,this is reminiscent of the shooting of Jock Davidson exactly the same reaction from "dissidents"if reports are to believed,again WHY! would "dissidents" involve themselves in protecting PIRA or its cronies in quisling $inn £anny, unless of course these "dissidents"are an offshoot of the chucks,that seems to me to be the only logical collusion to be drawn from this farce ,,

  5. The commentators I mention was of course AM, I just find it hard to reference/quote text on an iPhone without a mouse etc, and I misquoted him once before on the subject of Adams, so I was more careful this time.
    It’s plain from the headlines in UK papers that HMG no longer require a counter insurgency ally in the North when Brexits deadline gets closer, the fabled ‘ice sweepers’ to remove obstacles, and allow an orderly procession to their desired destination.
    Tension is now the optimal frame of reference. Let us see if enemies made on operations can be mitigated better than the Ryan family experienced.Three months is typically the period allotted for warrants wrt to surveillance. Court orders are needed to extend this.

  6. Niall,
    If the one's doing the remoulding become the majority, can they not claim the ideology?

  7. August, September, October ...


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