The recent killing of Kieran McManus in West Belfast produced the following reaction from the area’s MP, Sinn Fein’s Paul Maskey: 'it’s hard to comprehend how somebody can come out and kill someone who is at their work.'
It is equally as hard to comprehend how an MP can come out and display a dead memory for the constituency he represents. What sort of armed campaign does he think his predecessor as MP directed?
This type of sentiment inserted into a criticism of the attack on Kieran McManus merely dilutes the integrity of the condemnation being made.
Killing people while they were at work was a frequent tactic of Sinn Fein’s major partner in the Republican Movement, the IRA. It killed people on the job, coming from church, attending funerals, visiting hospitals, drinking in bars and so on.
There is no death penalty in the North and so therefore no right to administer capital punishment. Had the PSNI carried out the killing of Kieran McManus we would be up in arms. Paul Maskey has every reason to feel angry. But as a Sinn Fein member, for him to wax ethical by claiming not to understand the work dimension of this particular attack is to suggest he has not only inherited Mr Adams’s seat but also his forgetfulness. This major memory lapse blanks out the fact that the template for the West Belfast attack came straight from the pages of the IRA’s manual for operations. Not to be killed while on the job was a right the IRA refused to recognise as many school bus drivers, milkmen and postmen will testify to.
It's a stick up
The friend who drew my attention to a certain motion at this weekend’s Sinn Fein ard fheis at first thought it was a wind up, maybe even hoped it was: that the cumann concerned might just be registering a tongue in cheek protest about the road travelled.
If it is not a wind up this cumann would seem to have a memory like the current West Belfast MP and has forgotten all about the cultural wars that were fought over the particular emblem in the years immediately after the emergence of the Provisionals. Bearing a sticky back lily was enough to get the wearer a kicking.
Perhaps the cumann’s attitude is that as the party has been ‘sticking’ it out for so long it might as well go the extra mile and have the Easter lily made without a pinhead, instead using a sticky back to ensure it has traction on the lapel. An emblem appropriate for the times.
Motion 49 from the Charles J. Kickham Cumann, Tipperary: This Ard Fheis proposes that the Easter Lily be made into a sticker.
The motion didn’t stick and was eventually withdrawn. The party’s principled leadership will stick to principles.
Freedom to Imagine
Religious intolerance was again on the march. Not too many of them but enough to provide the rest of us with a bit of entertainment. This time their religious opinion has been upset by the writer Colm Toibin whose play The Testament of Mary opened in the Walter Kerr Theatre, New York. Around 50 advocates of censorship protested outside claiming blasphemy, whatever that is, had been committed. At the heart of the play is a doubt on the part of Mary that her child Jesus is actually the son of god. A reasonable enough assumption for a playwright in the scientific age where virgin births don’t really cut the mustard.
That was enough to send the intolerant onto the streets protesting: ‘Stop blaspheming our lord now’ and ‘We offer God this public act of reparation and vehemently protest against the blasphemous play The Testament of Mary.' They launched into a homophobic rant against Toibin and some of the actors involved.
No doubt god listened and will act accordingly. Perhaps he will strike Toibin down with AIDS or have him drowned in a tsunami, or taken out by one of the many plagues the religious love to see those who don’t believe what they believe, struck down by. So we can expect to hear no more from Mr Toibin. Amen.
It never takes much to get religious nutters going and this lot from the groups America Needs Fatima and The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), have not broken the mould.
People have the right to protest although when they are screaming blasphemy as a means to censor writers who craft something that does not conform to their religious opinion, their protests should be treated with disdain. More worryingly is the inclusion of children in these protests. If they were there because the parent took them on a day out or had no child minding arrangements in place, that is something else but to give a child rosary beads, and tell it that the work being beseeched against is something called blasphemy which can get you burned forever and a day is brainwashing. It rather than the play should raise public concern.
Toibin said ‘the freedom to imagine and publish is one of the things we have all worked for over a number of centuries.’ Indeed. Sad that protecting it from mobs screaming ‘blasphemy’ still seems necessary in the world of today which artistically pushes against barriers rather than imposes them.