This & That 𐃉 Take 4

The Sky Blues

Coventry is one of those English cities I have never been to. It is hard to make any claim on its behalf that it is best known for its soccer team. When we think of footballing greats Coventry City does not figure amongst them. To my mind rather than reaching for the skies the history of Coventry is more one of the skies reaching for it. It has a history of things falling on it from the sky, not all of them good. The Luftwaffe bombed it on a number of occasions during the Second World War. The IRA bombed it in the same period although not from the sky. While willing to collaborate with the Nazis the IRA was not the beneficiary of Goering’s Junker, Messerschmitt or Stuka planes. To cause its fatalities the IRA used something much less technologically sophisticated – the simple bicycle.

Fortunately for the city this time round when the skies opened up it was a barrage of apples that rained down on the citizens journeying along the city’s streets. They had been sucked up into a vortex from a garden or orchard in one part of the city during a freak weather outburst and deposited on the heads of the unsuspecting public at another location.

Now there may be some who will see it as a sign from god. They always manage to do that. Eve, doing the bidding of the devil, is hiding behind a cloud trying to tempt all the good Adams of Coventry to bite apples so that they too might be as smart as god. Which would allow them to make the cock up of the world which he has so far managed. 

That should leave them well qualifed to manage Coventry City

Civilised Behaviour

Sinn Fein’s Past Sheehan has stirred something of a furore with his claims that the North’s violent conflict was ’probably quite civilised.’ While Sheehan was speaking in comparative terms, ‘civilised’ is not the most appropriate choice of term to describe any armed conflict. Moreover, it is the type of remark best made by a disinterested sociologist or political scientist rather than by somebody who was an active combatant in a war he seeks to depict as civilised.

Yet, his general point is valid enough: weighed against a backdrop of mass killings in other conflict zones, the North’s history could have been a lot more bloodstained. That might be of cold comfort to the bereaved who lost loved ones but the North was not Kigali, Srebrenica, San Salvador, Beirut, Baghdad  or any number of hot spots that resemble killings fields and massacre sites rather than civilisations. 

Kenny Donaldson, of the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), claimed that Sheehan’s comments amounted to ‘the latest attempt in a litany of efforts by the Republican movement to legitimise their criminal campaigns.’  But republicans would see Donaldson engaged in an attempt to criminalise the IRA campaign, something that Pat Sheehan almost lost his life on hunger strike trying to prevent. It also reflects an unwillingness on the part of many in the unionist community to take on board how violence is engendered; how many nationalists without any attachment to a republican physical force tradition could come to feel it a political and moral imperative to usurp or overthrow, violently or otherwise, a malign government prepared to massacre an unarmed civilian population on the streets of Derry.

Probably much more contentious than his ‘civilised’ comment is Sheehan’s expressed view that the IRA did not purposely try to kill civilians. This rings hollow when considered against events like Whitecross when the clear intention of the perpetrators was to kill as many Protestant civilians as possible in one outing.

The persistence of these types of acrimonious exchanges may lead to a situation where Northern society might conclude that in order to live amiably in the present it will have to pass on the past.

Living It Up

It appears annoying victims groups is not the only matter relating to Pat Sheehan that has caught the attention of the press in recent days. He seems to have upset the Sunday Independent as well. The Indo had a pop at Sinn Fein, the party to which Sheehan belongs last weekend, claiming that in a time of austerity and recession the party was living the high life in the US.

Two of the party's Stormont members, Gerry Kelly and Pat Sheehan, commemorated the hunger strike in which 10 men died by attending a dinner at the ultra-swish Manhattan Club, just off Central Park.

We all have to eat but attending dinner events in honour of hunger strikers seems not quite the done thing. ‘Fill our bellies to the memory of the starving.’ There must be other ways.

37 comments:

  1. qsf really have become the pigs from Orwells Animal farm,stuffing their gobs at a hunger strike commoration says it all.they have lost any sense of shame or respect for fallen comrades,

    ReplyDelete
  2. AM-

    I hope everyone who attented the dinner at the manhattan club and other dinners ate and drank their fill and had a great time whilst thinking of those 10 volunteers who give their all- i am sure that the 10 would rather have people enjoying themselves and clapping and cheering at the speechs afterwards than have ones dressed in black and being morbid 30 years on-

    ReplyDelete
  3. Michaelhenry,

    and even loving the thought of everybody running to the British cops about armed republicans and calling them criminals

    ReplyDelete
  4. Marty,

    I don't go overboard about it and quite like Pat as you know. But there are some images that just don't fit. It was a bit like the big fat blanketmen walking up the Falls Road a few years ago. Who was ever fat on the Blanket? Another one was the spoon with the faces of hunger strikers on it. Souveneirs ok - but not a spoon for a hunger striker

    ReplyDelete
  5. Michael,

    To a certain degree, I appreciate the point you're trying to make. Commemorations need not be austere, spartan affairs. But arranging dinner parties at horribly posh restaurants and staying in the swankiest of hotels is not in keeping with the values of the men who gave their lives for a 32-county socialist republic. Is it any wonder that Sinn FΓ©in blew most of the money they raised in the US this year when they are behaving like hogs in a fattening house?

    ReplyDelete
  6. There was commemorative plates too, is their anything more inappropriate? Anything to make a quid.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Can I just say, before I comment on the present topic, how much I enjoyed listening to and watching Christy Moore’s “Weekend in Amsterdam”, on Youtube. I pissed myself laughing at it! I hope this annoys Gregory even more! (told you I would revel in it!). As regards dinners, plates and spoons at a Hunger Strike Memorial, well, that’s beyond me. Kelly and Sheehan obviously have no sense of shame, or any other sort of moral come to think of it. AM, I know where you are coming from when you say that the likes of Kelly and Sheehan almost died on hunger strike, I respect that as well, but we’re talking about the here and now. To watch people like them kow-tow and bow and implement everything and anything that the Brits say they must, is sickening. Personally, I don’t give a fuck about what they did in the past, it’s what they are doing now! I remember a friend telling me that Barry McIlDuff was a “Good Lad” in his time, but honestly McIlDuff (hope I spelt that right) to me now, is a clown that goes on the Nolan Show or anywhere else he can get a cheap laugh (when there are cameras around).

    ReplyDelete
  8. I for one am not suggesting people be morbid or wring their hands and wear black,no I think those brave men should be remembered with dignity and not a marketing tool for a political party that cant make a decision without the bearded ones say so.. slap up dinners ffs... like giving survivors of Auswitch commemorative gas lighters, Mickerboy yer man Hartley big buck in the committee said at an Ard Feis he had no principals and thats the truest thing the f##ker has ever said and p.s try and remember those other two heroes who died for the republican movement on hunger strike ...

    ReplyDelete
  9. belfastgit,

    I take your point. I think on their part it is more a case of growing desensitised rather than treating the hunger strikers with contempt. So I would prefeer to remind them rather than shame them.

    What I do find hard to take is that Pat is working for people who would gladly have seen him off during that hunger strike. He should be asking serious questions of them about the events leading up to Joe McDonnell's death.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting one this, I think the reasons are two fold, whether there're on the left or right, far to many politicians if the gain any type of power, believe they have a sense of entitlement to dip their snouts in the trough.

    Even some of the most decent folk fall into this trap, the more so if they come from the wrong side of the tracks. After all they theorise, its not like taking a back hander. When in reality it is a back hander without the envelope and they no it. But hey, haven't they served the people well, what harm will a little comfort do.

    It is easy to fall into this trap, others make ones arrangements, you fly into JFK, limo picks you up and drops you at the door of Plaza or Four seasons.
    What's a chap supposed to do, insult their hosts by making a fuss. Better to stay quiet and endure the hardship of staying in a 5* hotel entails, ah, the sacrifices a man must make for the movement.

    Few behave like Che, and refuse the enticement, get back in the car and head to Harlem/where-ever.

    Secondly republicans have often played the big man when they visit the USA, Dev is said to have stayed in the same type of hotel as the shinners do these days. After all his gofers claimed he represented not only the movement but Ireland itself.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Alfie-

    " is it any wonder Sinn Fein blew most of the money they raised in the us "

    News to me- i thought they done well this year- individuals in america paid the travel costs and the hotel bills- Sinn Fein blew nothing- [ well you know what i mean ]

    Marty-

    " p.s try and remember those other two heros who died for the Republican movement on hunger strike "

    Indeed- i remember the 22 Republican hunger strikers who died between 1917-1981- there are a lot of Republican familys who have a empty chair at the christmas dinner-no words of mine can match there grieve-but i will say a few prayers for them-

    ReplyDelete
  12. Michael,

    From the Irish Times:

    "The party, which berates other political parties in the Republic for accepting funding from similar interests, raised some $400,000 in donations in the United States this year, but reported a profit there of just $31,721, latest figures have shown.

    The New York-based Friends of Sinn FΓ©in plunged into a $54,000 loss for the six months ending in October, in large part due to a $60,000 transportation and accommodation bill for party leaders travelling to the US."


    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/1207/1224308683003.html

    ReplyDelete
  13. Alfie 2 points Mickeyboy nil points

    ReplyDelete
  14. Organised rage you can only fall into that trap if you you let yourself fall into it a cara. cant imagine Marian,Nuala Anthony Alec or Dixe or indeed any genuine socialist republican,which of course these people are definitely not.carpetbaggers is imo a more apt description. one would think the party would have a policy on such things,and indeed inform organisers of such events that accommodation ,travel etc should be kept within a reasonable budget.but as I say qsf aint no socialist or republican organisation ,

    ReplyDelete
  15. AM,
    Yeah, point taken. When you said “I would rather make them think about it, rather than shame them”, well, the likes of Kelly and Sheehan et al, have no shame and haven’t had for years. You are right of course, about Joe McDonnell, but if any of them had the temerity to bring something like that up, they’d be booted up the hole and lashed onto the Falls Road as “lepers”!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Belfastgit,

    it reminds me of the old saying that some people would rather be wrong than isolated

    ReplyDelete
  17. "you can only fall into that trap if you you let yourself fall into it"

    Indeed, but in a party like SF, it is a self perpetuating thing, younger members will see people like Sheehan with his feet up in a 5* hotel and will conclude if it is alright for a man like him, who am I to object. The message is clear, if you tow the party line you to may tour the world in the lap of luxury.

    These people are just behaving as what they are, bourgeoise politicians, what irritants me more is these folk are able to travel into the USA without a hitch, whilst many republicans still cannot get a visa.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Organized rage cant disagree with that a cara nollaig shona duit

    ReplyDelete
  19. I lived in ny for 10 years. I attended $500 a plate dinners in the finest of hotels. I only stopped when I saw what was happening in America. At the time, they were working to change Irish America to friends of sinn fein because they knew they would be losing money to the new republican movement after their defeat. Its the way it was done though, so slimy and sneaky.
    The second thing I want to say is, and I hate defending qsf, but most of these american trips are set up and paid for by supporters in America, they make every arrangement for them from hotels to transport. It was the same with Dev, he lived in the top hotel in ny but it was irish america that was paying for all that. Though not a big fan of Dev, it must be defended that when Dev was living in this hotel he was looking for recognition as the president of the Irish people. I think when you are seeking that kind of recognition, a top hotel is an adequate residence.

    ReplyDelete
  20. BKeane,

    didn't see your comment as a defence of SF, merely the articulation of a perspective which it is always worthwhile to have.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Sandy Boyer

    I'm told that Marian Price's lawyers are cautiously optimistic that she could be released early in the new year. At Wednesday's Parole Commission hearing in Maghaberry the British government said her pardon had been shredded. This makes it very difficult for them to prove that she was ever on license.

    On Monday, the High Court ruled that Martin Corey is entitled to challenge the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's decision to revoke his license in court. Republican Sinn Fein says in a statement that even if the court releases him Martin Corey will "spend at least another three months locked in a prison cell."

    These decisions will be at least as much political as legal. We all need to work together not only for Marian Price and Martin Corey but for all the prisoners in Maghaberry.


    Sandy Boyer

    I'm told that Marian Price's lawyers are cautiously optimistic that she could be released early in the new year. At Wednesday's Parole Commission hearing in Maghaberry the British government said her pardon had been shredded. This makes it very difficult for them to prove that she was ever on license.

    On Monday, the High Court ruled that Martin Corey is entitled to challenge the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's decision to revoke his license in court. Republican Sinn Fein says in a statement that even if the court releases him Martin Corey will "spend at least another three months locked in a prison cell."

    These decisions will be at least as much political as legal. We all need to work together not only for Marian Price and Martin Corey but for all the prisoners in Maghaberry.

    ReplyDelete
  22. FINGERS AND EVERYTHING ELSE CROSSED that is the best news this Christmas so far Sandy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anthony,

    A few years ago I was browsing the SF website & saw plates, dinner plates, with inscriptions of the hunger strikers faces on them. I emalied them to point out how this was in such bad taste & got some rubbish back about how the website only hosted merchandise for sellers - or something equally nonsensical. They took pains to point out that the plates would probably be used by most people as decorative items - and they're probably right. But surely, like you say, there must be better ways?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Belfast bookworm to use these icons as a merchandising product is disgusting enough for me but the fact that three of those icons were members of the INLA and when we look at how badly the prm treated this organisation its disgraceful that they should have the cheek to use their memories to fill their coffers, the original members of that organisation would have had some harsh words to say about that and maybe even harsher actions .

    ReplyDelete
  25. Mick,

    'bourgeois politicians' seems such a fitting description.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Belfast Bookworm,

    that would be my take on it. It seems so cheap and tacky, as if the pain undergone had been glossed over by the commodity culture.

    A plate is such an ill fitting means of commemorating a dead hunger striker. In other cirucumstances it would be ok but not for a hunger striker. It would take little in the way of imagination to come up with something different.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Let's not forget the steady source of income QSF (and the Bobby Sands Trust front) have from marketing Bobby's image, even when his family has pointedly told them to cease. I see they've also now started to peddle Francie Hughes merchandise, did they ask permission?

    ReplyDelete
  28. What next MDU a hunger strikers slimming pack,a 60 day course guaranteed to work or your money back and a free blanket with every purchase,charlatans the whole fuckin lot like their new found friends the hierarchy of the church,relics anyone!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Marty,

    I don’t know what is worse the ghoulish exploitation of the dead volunteers or the eegits who buy it as without those eegits there would be no market for this revolting exploitation.

    ReplyDelete
  30. For some light relief although on a heavy hearted topic, have a look at Slugger O'Toole and watch Dixie and Rusty Nail eviscerate Pat McLarnon

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thats the first visit I,ve made to Slugger in yonks Anthony, debating such important issues with the likes of Pat McLarnon and Mickeyboy are only good for one thing and that is it shows how well the qsf anal probes have worked and they have left them in as well..

    ReplyDelete
  32. Marty,

    I don't much go on it myself but when somebody directs you to a gutting like what happened there it is usually worth a visit.

    People who today abandon the hunger strikers to protect a party, while not as culpable as the party leaders who steered Joe McDonnell to certain death, share deep traits with those leaders.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Kinda reminds me of "I vuz only obeying orders" dont you think Anthony ,I think when intelligent people close their minds to reason and reject the evidence presented,then they become as culpable as those they blindly follow,and history will judge them so. Mickeyboy on the other hand has an excuse,he,s a dipstick.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Reading through the recently released govt papers under the 30 year notice,I had to chuckle at the article about the First minister Peter the punt you know Marty qsf,s mate talking about civil war,and that other waster Beattie threatening to burn down west Belfastin 1981,now wouldnt that have been something to see I know Peter the punt and Beattie wouldnt have lead the charge,and it wouldnt have been another Clontiberet,the brits should have said ok go ahead and try ,it may have sorted this whole mess out long ago and I dont think Paisley and co would have come out top dogs...as the line from the song went "thet would have go a rude awakening"

    ReplyDelete
  35. LMAO at the pic on your facebook a cara kinda reminds me of another wet good Friday afternoon in Bundoran....

    ReplyDelete
  36. Well there you have it Alasdair Mc Donnell great leader of the sdlp has given us his new year message,he intends to share out the cake more evenly among the few in the party ,the rest can eat shit like the rest of us...

    ReplyDelete