Hooden Raus

The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy - Alfred North Whitehead

Two former republican prisoners, Seamus Finucane and Jim McCarthy, have spoken to their local Sinn Fein paper regarding their views on the exiling from West Belfast of young people allegedly involved in anti-social activity. Finucane works with some Committee For Public Safety while McCarthy is prominent in Community Restorative Justice circles.

With a newly found sense of propriety Seamus Finucane said of a recent expulsion order:

Whatever the allegations, this is not the proper mechanism for dealing with this. These men need to be allowed back home to be with family, especially as some are suffering from mental health issues. There is no context to these threats and no support for the group issuing them. These threats are personality-driven.

In similar vein Jim McCarthy said:

We call on whoever made these threats on some very vulnerable people to lift them. Dialogue can resolve these issues and our door is always open, no issues are insurmountable.

Although it was claimed by one of the men interviewed that the group carrying out the measure had no public backing, conversely, a Sinn Fein supporter writing in the Irish News, while opposed to the measure, stated that ‘the expulsions of anti-social activists and anti-community criminal elements is clearly seen by some in our community as a positive step.’ He also referred to the criminal activity that goes unchecked day in day out seemingly enabled by ‘the total lack of any police presence.’

The eradication of crime and making streets safe by the PSNI was one of the implausible promises disingenuously made by those eager to win support for an armed British police force on the very streets that for decades had resisted the imposition of such a force.  As the Irish News letter writer, Danny Kelly, correctly said ‘there will always be crime, no society is immune.’ Certainly not West Belfast if we buy into the correlation between poverty and crime where according to Brian Feeney there exists ‘the densest concentration of poverty and unemployment outside north Dublin.’ Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, Danny Kelly daubs as a failure the Provisional IRA policy for dealing with anti social activity, stating that had it worked Turf Lodge would have zero crime at this point. One more non-achievement to be added to the overall failure of the Provisional IRA campaign. 

The group behind the expulsions is the armed republican body, Oglaigh na h-Eireann. It has picked up the baton, or - depending on the disciplinary rod of choice - baseball bat, handed down to it in legacy terms from the Provisional IRA. The former IRA frequently expelled young people on those occasions when it did not smash their limbs with a variety of weapons or kneecap them. Those familiar with the history of anti-social activity and the methods used by the IRA to police it, will marvel at the new found compassion expressed in the Andersonstown News. Not that they think refraining from punitive action against wayward youth is a bad thing; just that it is always an experience to observe people coming to love what they once hated.

Few eyebrows would be raised if the local MP, Sinn Fein’s Paul Maskey was to be found making such comments. He never expelled anyone from the community. But the two men who shared their views with the Andersonstown News have been associated in the West Belfast public mind with the practice of exiling for years. To be fair to McCarthy there is a consistency to his position in that he did pursue dialogue and sought to strike deals with people where possible, always willing to consider the least troublesome option for those young people immersed in the morass of anti social activity. Nor was he beyond an appeal for maximum leniency when dealing with these issues. Frequently he did not win the approval of his less tolerant colleagues. But for Finucane, dialogue seemed to be something that needed medical intervention to treat it. His authoritarian view of the world allowed only for a monologue: ‘get out.’

It might help dispel the haze if time were to be taken out to enlighten the community on the new found concern for the city’s supposed delinquents:  more so from Finucane than McCarthy. For long enough it was well nigh impossible to find anyone beneath the age of 20 in the particular West Belfast sub culture that so annoyed the Provos who did not resent Seamus Finucane with something approaching the pathological.  Memory tells me it was not because he was an advocate on their behalf or concerned about their psychological welfare. His attitude to anti-social youth was summed up in Charles Caleb Colton’s aphorism, ‘we hate some persons because we do not know them; and we will not know them because we hate them.’   

Perhaps it could further be explained how there is a difference between the mental problems of young people today and those from an era when Finucane was better known for enforcement than endearment. There were enough young people ending their own lives in that era for him not to have known there was a serious mental health problem that afflicted many West Belfast youth.

With the seeming change of heart on display there exists a good opportunity to enhance public understanding by explaining the context Seamus Finucane refers to. Or is context just alibi? Is the current opposition to expulsions genuinely motivated by concern for the young people targeted or is it fuelled by resentment at the baton being wielded by an IRA other than the Provisional? And if the young of a past era with their broken arms and shattered legs are to be afforded the same concern, retrospectively albeit, can we expect – as alluded to by Sinn Fein national chairperson Declan Kearney - a ‘sorry guys’ from the steps of Connolly House to the legions of joyriders who now drive disability cars rather than stolen ones?


  1. As I read this article I intermittently giggled and ranted - (as you can imagine).
    Firstly as you know I was always an advocate for youth in West Belfast and at no point ever supported the vigilante style justice/control the PIRA maintained over our communities. (I am not going to say i didn't/don't understand the context and sometimes the necessity of doing so). Who else was going to keep us y/p safe eh??

    I grew up on the streets of West Belfast being "chased" home by Seamy and his mates at least once a week - subsequently as a youth worker for many years in West Belfast I had to challenge these 'community protectors'for their continued mental and physical abuse of our youth.
    The fact that these same men can stand/sit or even breathe with a straight face, as they perpetuate the continual hypocrisy that are the provisionals, shouldn't surprise anyone.

    Secondly the demonising of our young people is not Belfast-centric, it is a tool that is utilised all over our globe to create fear in communities.
    Our youth are not the problem!! The systems and institutions that surround our children since birth are the problem.

    Instead of worrying about who does or doesn't have the strongest baseball bat in the west - people should be highlighting the damage being done to their families and children by the biggest crooks - You know the politicians who you all voted to represent your best interests.

    To those on the streets who believe that they are suddenly going to maintain control/support by shooting and beating young people engaged in activity they deem "anti-social" - Think again my friends and look to the legacy of that approach. Did beating,shooting and the de facto deporting of young people from our communities eliminate crime?
    Turn your attention to the real issues of concern. The issues that now are facilitating an ever increasing disparity in wealth and opportunities for working class young people. Be revolutionary not reactionary - create alternatives!!

    Anyone can lift and weapon a claim righteousness just like the rank and file provos back in their day but ultimately did their tactic facilitate change in our communities or further entrench our youth in desperation? I believe the amount of young people in these areas suffering from mental illnesses and dealing with suicide/self harm on a regular basis proves this intimidation tactic is futile.

    I have no hesitation in calling out those who believe that replicating the sins of the past give them or our children a future !!
    Stop and desist would be my opinion - want to help ease the problems of your communities then begin to listen instead of deciding what you think is right. Harming our own community is a pointless exercise and does nothing except forge more hate.

    p.s.(And finally - PLEASE more people have to start calling people like finucane out on their bullshit and all those other hypocrites if we are ever going to be able to create a better alternative/future for all).

  2. Hi Anthony, I like to limit my comments to what's germane to your blog posts, but this evening I have a more parochial question.

    I'm bringing my family on vacation to Ireland next week (we're from New Hampshire, USA), and naturally I'd like to stop in to tour West Belfast and to meet some people who might be able to share personal views, stories, etc., about the republican cause.

    Are there any pubs we don't want to miss, or are there any tours or sites that we mustn't miss?

    I'd be grateful for whatever help you can offer. If you're the type to go to a pub, I'd be honored to buy you a pint or two!

    Thanks very much,
    Brian McEvoy, otherwise known as Pied Cow

  3. AM & Aine

    You both make the observations of the seasoned. I was never in Finucane's field of vision but I did observe him once and have always remembered him as an arrogant intolerant gobshite full of his own self importance.

    In fairness, I think it better that people like him are saying that other avenues can be explored and that some humane regard must be given to the 'offender' and their family network.

    Sure there is a political agenda in it for SF even if they don't gag on their own bile. But flagging any SF or IRA hypocracy (or change of heart) is not justification for the myriad of new groups to be as ruthless and inhumane as the provies ever were.


  4. Aine,

    I know you fought hard for the youth of West Belfast and came up against the ‘community protectors.’

    My own view is that most volunteers seen addressing ‘the hoods’ problem as a distraction from what they were really about. On the other hand there were some who clearly enjoyed it because they never seemed to do anything else. I also detected a reluctance to approve punishments and more often than not it was a response to community pressure. People felt tormented by the anti-social problem and often blamed the IRA for allowing it to develop by not filling the vacuum. I think Joe Hendron of the SDLP once said that punishments attacks were popular in the community. Eamonn McCann said likewise if I am not mistaken. Both men resolutely opposed any form of IRA policing.
    And then there was a perception within the ranks that many critics of the IRA focused on it because it was useful to criticise the IRA. They did not focus on police violence or torture. They never spoke to the people in the community tormented by anti social activity. This helped create a laager mentality not lessened by an inability for the most part to understand youth culture.

    As a measure Danny Kelly in the Irish News is right. It simply did not work. Belfast could not escape facing the problems that every other European city experienced. The current IRAs are no more going to solve the problem than the former IRA. If the energy expended in pursuing armed campaigns was directed toward community enhancement the alienation of youth and the depth of poverty might not be so pronounced.


    Absolutely right. It is much better that they say what they are than to not be saying it at all. I think a much more rounded discussion with those people participating would explain much about how the attitudes of current groups have been formulated and what might be needed to persuade them to desist. These groups have merely following in the footsteps of what went before. There is a legacy issue that can’t be explained away by the argument that it is all driven by personalities.

    Furthermore, I wonder what the party they belong to pushing Tory austerity measures is going to do in terms of tackling youth alienation. Which sort of touches on Aine’s point.

    Ruthlessness and inhumanity are attributes any society values to its own detriment.

  5. Brian,

    send your e mail address to the comments section. It will not be published but I will get back to you via it.


  6. Aine

    Great comment, spot on thank you.

    "more often than not it was a response to community pressure."

    For sure anti social behaviour by youngsters is not the easiest thing to deal with, but if the only way an organisation which wants to rule a whole nation can deal with it is with exile, a baseball bat or worse. It does not give one much confidence in what they might do were they to gain national power.

    What I find hard to take is if the police or the army were behaving in such a way, the Provos in the past and their latest incarnation today, would be appalled and say it is wrong. and rightly so.

    Yet they claim the right to do the same to youngsters whom they claim are from 'their' communities. It as if they believe these kids are their property, to do with what they wish.

    Pretty pathetic.

  7. Nice article mackers, just a few questions for ya.

    I would like to hear your view on how people like Seamus Finucane moved so far up the ranks within the movement and at what stage of the struggle did the IRA feel it was in their best intrests to rule in a manner akin to the mob or Stalin - whereby instead of being the army of the people they became an army for some of the people some of the time. It is perhaps that people tended to support the paramilitaries through fear rather than seeing them as an army of the common man about to free old Eirinn

    I know that when the paramilitaries entered bars and clubs many young people clapped and cheered through fear, for to be see to do otherwise would be akin to questioning allah in a Teliban stronghold - so much for the spirit of freedom!
    Moreover, I can well remember a time when people were dragged out of so-called republican clubs and harassed for being too drunk to stand in respect for "their" national anthem. Under whos leadership did the policy of beating drunks for speaking out of turn about republician ideals manifest as a viable tactic that should be used to place some manners on the working class natives, who already entrenched in oppression needed some extra jack boots in the nether-regions for their own good.

    Is it perhaps that there were two PIRAs - one who fought the brits and another whose role it was to keep the people onside through trepidation; thus the leadership relied on figures like Finucane to play the vampire, ie - the one the nation fears most but never wants to be seen to speak out against for it is he who sucks the blood from the villagers all the while assuring them he is only looking after what is in their best intrest. I wonder just how many IRA men were court martialed for crimes against the same community they frequently told us they were the protectors of ? I guess for every Jim Lynagh and francie Hughes there are countless Seamus Finucanes.

  8. Organized Rage/Mick,

    Many good points there which give food for thought.

    When we look at it more closely it becomes possible to separate the issues out: physical violence against youth from exiling. It is around exiling that a battle for legitimacy is better understood. Whereas no state can smash the limbs of its young offenders without bringing down serious opprobrium, every state uses exiling – they just call it imprisonment. And communities have used it extensively rather than let individuals within the community torment their neighbours. I read a debate one time in one of the English Left magazines about ‘the enemy within’ – it is so long ago but if I recall one of the arguments being considered was turfing those who prey on their community out of it. I read that it is a practice pursued by native American groups. When these people don’t have orisons they exile in a different way.

    So communities in conflict with the state might need to perform some state function for those within the area they represent or rule over. Nobody really disapproves of exiling because to do so would be to oppose imprisonment of those within the community. The question becomes one of what is the legitimate authority for exiling. I think in the case under discussion the Provos want the British police to have that power rather than armed republican groups. And while that may be the most democratic option available it invites questions of the Provos about their own past management of anti social activity and raises questions about legitimacy being transferred from republicanism to the British with the approval of the Provos and what implications that has for maintaining the legitimacy of the republican past.

    For those of us who believe there should be no armed republican groups the issues are no less real.

  9. I not familiar with the workings of West Belfast. But I have a few questions on, who appointed these people to Upper Springfield Community Safety Forum (USCSF)and Community Restorative Justice (CRJ)? Who pays their wages and what input does the community have to remove or appoint persons to these alleged community organizations? And what qualifications these people to be in these alleged community organizations that seemingly sit in judgement over the people of West Belfast?

  10. Isn't Jim McCarthy the same Jim McCarthy that allegedly abducted Marty McGartland? And was, according to McGartland, active in IRA punishment squads?

  11. Rumor has it that seamy (nike air max) Finucane is the absentee landlord to a few holiday appartments in Sunny Beach resort Bulgaria; if so perhaps he should be appointed provo holiday rep, and advise the community on which areas to avoid at nite. After all he has a good eye for uncovering thugs, reprobates and pot smokers. and sure if not he at least must know where to purchase the best tax free cigs :)

  12. Emmet,

    I think they know how to work the system. Kiss up kick down types. Useful to the status quo and powers that be due to a complete unwillingness to question any decisions from above.

    I think the authoritarianism was always there. It goes with the military turf. You pointed up some examples of this in your comment on dragging people from pubs for not standing for the anthem. That would have been local initiative.

    But in the opening years power was dispersed and local leaders could become very prominent which militated against the central hierarchical domination of later years.

    I think when people are around the scene too long they go stale and grow conservative. Their interests are tied up with the organisation and not the goals the organisation supposedly exists for.

  13. Does anyone really believe a word that comes out of the mouths of either Finucane or hop a long Mc Carthy,their concern for the youth of west Belfast is like "jesus loves you" a kind gesture in a church,horrifying to hear in a Mexican prison!!!fucking hypocrites the pair of them.

  14. Spon,

    Same guy although I would not rush to judgement too quick on the basis of what Marty McGartland said about him. So much of his account has been questioned. I lived in the Murph and had casual conversation with people about the accuracy of many of his claims in the book. So much of it is contested and not for the usual reasons.


    Good questions. Nepotism goes a long way to answering most of them I guess. What input did the community ever have?

    Qualifications hardly matter. Being able to say ‘yes’ in 3 or 4 different languages will do.

  15. Mackers,
    I know for a fact a lot of people myself included support the stance taken by Oglaigh na h-Eireann.
    I never supported the community beatings, never lost any sleep over it either if I am to be honest.
    I can totally understand and emphasise with what Aine is saying.
    There some very misguided and troubled young people. There are also young people in our areas suffering from severe mental health issues sadly the suicide rate is testimony to that one.
    But what of the good kids and the community in general? Do they deserve to be terrorised and live under the constant threat of gangs of hoodlums.
    Clonard is a classic example.Our area has apparently become a dumping ground or an anti-social drop off.
    I actually fear walking the streets of my own area at night.
    My fear increases when my son leaves the house at night.
    It is not Loyalists, Brits or Peelers we fear although there is always that foreboding it is the hoods (the label these young people proudly give themselves)
    At times people in this area have actually been held to ransom with the antics of hood gangs.
    Mackers we were disadvantaged, we were born into a blighted sectarian state were discrimination and poverty which was the direct result of that discrimination was rife.
    Did we wreck and torture our own community, no I don't think so.
    Bap McGreevy lived in fear of the hood element that eventually took his life.
    Had those thugs been expelled no doubt he would have been here today, as would many of the other victims who came through so much during the war only to be murdered by their own during the peace.

  16. Fionnuala

    I agree 100% with your comment.

    But, its not just in Clonard, These So called kids, some off whom are in there thirties, smoking weed, selling weed, trying to stop locals cars to hijack and joyride, racing up and down the streets, doing handbrake turns.

    Some of whom are from top P.I.R.A. parents who think that they can do what they want because the parents do not have any control over them anymore, so Oglaigh na h-Eireann are the only solution now, unless we can get to the bottom of the pit and ask these "Hoods", why did you start doing this in the first place", unemployment is no excuse, the whole world is experiencing it.
    one warning should be enough, i do not agree with the beatings because they dont fear that anymore, they are hardened to it, its best to abduct and hood them, take them across the boarder, then cock a gun, that would put the fear of god into them, leave them were they are and drive of.

  17. itsjustmacker,
    Too be honest I have no idea what the solution is to anti-social behaviour on the scale it is currently taking place.
    A girl was raped in beechmount a few weeks apparently the place ahe was raped is out of bounds even to the police. What sort of crap is that? Out of bounds? I know for a fact there are businesses on the Falls Road currently paying protection because of threats and hooligan behaviour and you have to ask is this the sort of thing people gave their lives for?
    There is no doubt that McCarthy and Finnucane can add hypocrisy to their list of undesirable traits, two centuries ago they would have fitted nicely into the grave robbing trade.
    This does not detract from the fact that people in these areas and you are right not just Clonard have been thrown to the wolves and not just the proverbial ones.
    People need to be protected and sometimes that protection has to come from whatever means.

  18. Every so often the subject of anti-social behaviour and the antics of that bunch of £10 touts commonly know as hoods pops up here,having endured the imported variety for generations I for one see no problem exporting these scumbags back to their paymasters,others are of the opinion and I to am in agreement here that this issue should be left in the hands of the professionals our gravediggers are indeed very professional...

  19. Nuala,

    I have no doubt that there is considerable sympathy or support for the exiling of hoods. That’s one of the reasons SF would allow it coming up to election time. There is an attitude out there that when a bully gets their comeuppance it is nothing lost to the bullied. Very hard to sympathise with the bully. And those that demand such sympathy make it doubly worse for the bullied. Not only are they expected to put up with the bullying but they are supposed to identify with the bully when he gets a measure of what he gives out. Sympathy/empathy – it is a finite resource and people are not going to use it up bullies.

    The beatings were brutal and I suspected that the ending of the kneecapping and the introduction of beatings were part of ‘removing the gun from politics’ as they say. They made no sense. Apart from their brutal nature they required more people to carry them out, exposed them for a longer time to the threat of arrest. And they were a PR disaster.

    I think a lot of people fear walking the streets at night. I remember being told the Dark always left the pub early to avoid running into hoods. I don’t know if it was true. But the fear existed even when the rough justice was being dished out in liberal doses.

    No community deserves to live under the constant fear generated by hoods. When you talk about people not fearing the Brits or peelers or loyalists to the extent they fear hooding I remember getting out just after the 1992 massacre at the Ormeau Road bookies. A friend said to me it was a pity the UFF had not shot five hoods. I think it is the constant nature of the hooding problem. It is there every night, every day. It is a hump on the community back.

    Bap’s killing was terrible. And he would most likely be with us had the thugs that killed him being exiled to some place else, where it must be said, they might have found some other Bap. This goes on everywhere. Bap’s killing was comparable to the case of the two French students tortured to death in London by the type that killed Bap: Errors left 'sadist' free to kill Yet if we are trying to promote a rights culture or value one then rights are something that have to be extended to those who are anathema to us for reasons other than we like them. And if we don’t push a culture of rights then we are in a bad position when we argue for rights of prisoners et al to be respected. The argument will always be thrown back in our faces that we don’t respect rights.

    Like you I don’t buy into the line that poverty causes crime. It gives rise to certain forms of crime. To say poverty causes crime hardly explains why so much crime is committed by the rich: the bankers, developers, exploiters. If you look at that [place where I used to work, Priory Hall, the people there are victims of crime but it was not the poor who inflicted it on them.

    I believe Aine is right. Vigilante type justice addresses what is a broad phenomenon in a very narrow sense. It might move this or that hood on or get rid of this or that particular neighbour and alleviates the plight of a few but in general the difference it makes seems negligible. It has never yet impacted on the sub culture that throws up the problem.

  20. Anthony the people of theses deprived areas suffer enough on a daily basis in terms of employment prospects, health issues,and every other form of social injustice,to have the added "hump on their backs" by the activities of these hoods and their mates,it just increases the difficulties ordinary working class people have in trying to live in some sort of peace,the state cares little about the impact these thugs have on peoples lives, and indeed moving them on in many cases leaves other innocent people open to become their victims,I think when we find ourselves in a situation as we do today, that we as a society should issue a final warning that enough is enough,and that the harshest of measures will be taken against anyone found guilty of anti social behaviour,I for one have no sympathy whatsoever for any of them no matter how brutal their punishment was,if they want to blow their minds lets them smoke dynamite...

  21. Itsjustmacker,

    But if the cops were doing what you suggest we would be in uproar.

  22. Marty,

    While you are right about the type of conditions people labour under it is a problem that exists in every modern city. Like Nuala I don’t know what the answer is but giving the self appointed the power to decide the fate of others would not be a good way forward. The ‘harshest of measures’? I always find myself in opposition to that even when the harshest of crimes have been inflicted by the perp. The US jails are filled with people who make Belfast hoods look like angels and in every case I would oppose capital punishment being administered. In general I think ways have to be found to protect the community that rest on the less punitive.

    I have no love for these people but feel that a society that is shaped by an overly punitive mindset is a dangerous. They are all totalitarian or display strong authoritarian impulses. A punitive dimension is part of the human condition but one I think we should try to curb.

  23. What you say Anthony makes a lot of sense and genuinely hard to argue with, but if you take a look at todays headline story in the Irish News,we are told about how a family down the lower Falls had a narrow escape from being burnt to death in their own home by a gang of thugs who call themselves the "rugrats"these thugs actually attempted to barricade of Albert st to presumably stop the emergency services getting to the family,a small number of mindless wee bastards ruining peoples lives,which I have stated before are hard enough,so yes a cara your are right about this is not just a local issue and the thugs in places like America might make ours look like whimps but do we have to wait untill we are so far fucked up as a society that the only way one can live in some form of normality is in gated communities,and that is only for the well heeled, fuck the rest of us,I do understand your argument a cara but to be honest if we allow these thugs to run amok and we know from experience that these people act as £10 touts,so they are being given free reign to torture their neighbours,then we have the right to defend ourselves and our neighbours by whatever means.it may well be a retrograde step for a progressive society,but is there really any other alternative,especially when the state itself is directing the actions of these thugs or at the very least turning a blind eye.

  24. AM

    "But if the cops were doing what you suggest we would be in uproar."

    Why would we be in uproar?, those who put fear into the older residents, demand protection money, hijack locals cars should be dealt with BY THE LOCALS, who else is going to deal with the situation, No P.I.R.A anymore, P.S.N.I./R.U.C. allow them to do what they do, they even entice them to do it by small payments for drugs and info on so called Dissidents, "Oglaigh na h-Eireann are the only solution Now" "I dont think the return to Knee Capping etc is what is needed in this day and age. Because They just go and get a claim.
    If you can come up with an alternate solution to the Hoods then i would love to hear it, from anyone.

  25. Marty,

    The type of incident you refer to down the Falls is one that occurs in most Western cities and to which a solution has yet to be found. There is a belief that totalitarian societies are more successful on crime if only because they throw a lot more cops at it. But we don’t want a totalitarian regime. It was the totalitarian dimension of the Provos that alienated so many of us.

    At the same time it would seem to be a democratic imperative that people are protected from this type of activity and there are situations in which, where that protection is not forthcoming, people will come forward to offer that protection. In some ways we are confronted with the dilemma of a rights culture. If we subscribe to it - and it seems that we do unless our discourse about prisoners’ rights and police abuses of rights is just a rhetorical ploy – then we can’t begin excluding categories of people or individuals from those rights.

    That’s the ideal position: when confronted with a hood in your home the Castle doctrine suddenly looks very appealing and the resort to ‘whatever means’ looks justified. I know I don’t have the answers but I try thinking about the range of questions.

    Ultimately, society can hardly have an ethos that avoids rights. And rights means ‘rights against us’.


    ‘Why would we be in uproar?’

    To quote or paraphrase Alec from last night it is either an absolute injustice or it is not. And if the cops were doing this to people in society I would regard it as an absolute injustice. So it would put me in a spot of squaring the circle of protesting against the absolute injustice that is inflicted on prisoners and supporting absolute injustice against hoods or suspect hoods or whoever. If we don’t oppose the absolute injustice perpetrated against those we don’t like we are in no position to oppose it when it is inflicted on our friends.