Killing Palestinians: The "Combat-Age" Excuse

Alfie Gallagher rubbishes the false Israeli narrative constructed around its terror strategy in Gaza and which seeks to justify the murder of non combatants. Alfie Gallagher is a independent Leftist blogger. This piece featured on his blog Left From the West today, 27 July 2014. 

In modern propaganda, excuses are the weapon of choice. As the Palestinian death toll rises above 1000, apologists for the IDF's brutal war of choice against Gaza have come up with a rather clever excuse indeed: the age and gender of the Palestinian dead.

Disputing the UN's claim that three-quarters of those killed by the IDF are civilians, pro-Israel bloggers point out that the vast majority of Palestinians killed during the Second Intifada were male - mostly boys between the ages of 10 and 19 and young men under 30. The same seems to be the case in the current conflict in Gaza. Thus, say the laptop bombardiers, most of the civilian dead are "combat-age" males and so they must be militants. Essentially, Israel's cheerleaders argue that Palestinian boys and men are legitimate targets.

The irony here is that those who make this argument are following the lead of world's worst war criminals. As researchers from the Gendercide Watch project point out:

state-directed gender-selective mass killings have overwhelmingly targeted men through history, and ... this phenomenon is pervasive in the modern world as well.

In many conflicts, so-called combat-age male civilians are systematically targeted by enemy forces. For example, the vast majority of civilians killed by Serbian forces in Bosnia and Kosovo were boys and men, as were the victims of the Rwandan genocide. Indeed, in the initial phase of the Holocaust, the primary victims of the Nazis' mass executions were teenage and adult Jewish males.

Furthermore, there are plenty of reasons why most civilian casualties would be male in any urban war zone. For instance, because societies are still very patriarchal, I imagine it is mostly fathers, sons, brothers and uncles who venture out to obtain food and medicine or to search for missing relatives. When they do, their "combat-age" status is effectively a target sign on their chests.

On 11 July 1942, Colonel Max Montua of the Police Regiment Centre issued the following orders to the Nazi police battalions:

Confidential! By order of the Higher SS and Police Leader ... all male Jews between the ages of 17 and 45 convicted as plunderers are to be shot according to martial law.

The police battalions duly rounded up and shot thousands of Jewish males. Today's pro-Israel blogger battalions would gladly condemn the boys and men of Gaza to the same fate.


  1. Great piece Alfie. The more they make themselves look like the Nazis the less difference people will see. And the reservoir of empathy for the Israeli raison d'etre will continue to drain. They have used, abused, manipulated and plundered the millions of Jewish people murdered during the Holocaust. And now they behave in similar fashion.

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Anthony. It is also worth mentioning that all thirteen civilians killed by British Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday in 1972 were "combat-age" males aged between 17 and 41. Ten of the eleven victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre were also men. Indeed, based on statistics from the Sutton Index, I reckon that about 90 percent of the civilians killed by British security forces in the North were male. Overall, boys and men account for 80 percent of all civilian deaths during the Troubles.

  3. Teenage boys were targeted in NI and the same kind of claims were made of their involvement with the IRA or rioter.

    This current outburst of extreme violence was provoked by Palestinians abducting and murdering three Jewish teenagers.

    The issue also involves 'opportunity'. There is no question that Israeli's are excessively brutal. But Hamas would be the same or worse if they had the opportunity to be --their object is to expunge every Jewish life whereas the Israeli's want the rockets to stop.

    While there exists a right for oppressed people to resist it has to be a war crime to provoke a Superior force knowing that that force will annihilate your own civilian population --the same population Hamas disingenuously claim to be protecting. It is s a kind of warped proxy directing of terrorism against your own people.

  4. "When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense."

    ― Noam Chomsky

  5. "When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense."

    ― Noam Chomsky

  6. Is that right Tirana? The Palestinians provoked the latest out burst? Who provoked the siege, the blockades, the trade embargo, the denial of medical supplies and the most very basic of human rights water and electric.

    I would say what you know about Palestine would fit neatly onto the same stamp, full of your knowledge of other things.

    The Jewish people have filled the streets in support of Palestine and their abhorrence at the Israeli murder campaign.
    Jews, not Zionists Jews!

    Blaming people for their own persecution, but then that's the illogical guff you seemingly trail around with you!

  7. Tiarna, Have you got a reference to support your claim that Hamas' objective is to expunge every Jewish life?

    In Hamas' 1988 charter they reference "the raising of the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine", adding that "Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions- Islam, Christianity and Judaism- to coexist in peace and quiet with each other".

  8. Fionualala

    Go take a running jump --you do nothing but winge when I answer you, you avoid answering questions in return and, until now, you have adhered to some lala land existence where you pretend I do not exist --well liked that just fine. Go back to winging to your husband --he seems fool enough to listen.


    Hamas are allies, or benefactors, of the Iranians. All rockets fired are at the Jewish people at large and not military targets just as the three teenage boys were killed for the reasons as the subject of this blog is all about. By their actions or consistent practice they target whatever Jewish life the get the chance to kill.

    As a civilian devout 'infidel' ( not jewish) I would not feel very safe under Allah's Islamic banner to which you seem to have faith in as some guarantee to tolerance of non-Muslims.

    My comment is not intended as anti-Palestian, in fact the opposite, we all know that Israel is a terrorist state but Hamas actions can only be to invoke Israeli wrath upon the Palestinian people. We can all condemn the Israeli's but Hamas does not have clean hands or no responsibility for the slaughter of its own people.

    There are several documentaries on life for Palestinians under the authority of Hamas -they are not gentle nor sweet with their own people they are brutal islamic-psychos, so I wouldn't hold much faith in whatever Hamas propaganda sheet you refer too, especially for non-Muslims (not just Jews). Nor do I differentiate between Hamas and IDF they seem both intent on maximising the suffering of the Palestinian civilian population --one holds the gun while the other pulls the trigger.

  9. Simone

    I should add even the NAZI's and Japanese stopped fighting because their civilian populations were being directly targeted and suffering the brunt of the war. Hamas are feeding of the death of its own people.

  10. Tiarna,

    fight with Nuala all you want and she is equally free to fight with you. Her husband has Sweet FA to do with this discussion and should not be brought into it.

  11. AM

    You are right and I was not intending my reference as a swipe at the husband I inadvertently referred to him because she refers to him in her posts to me.

    Perhaps she will go back to her old promises --and sticking to them this time.

  12. Tirana,
    Wingeing, for a former H Block man your an embarrassment and if I want to point that out I will.
    I never run to anyone, however if my memory serves me righti in a past rant, not only were you running you actually were rolling out all sorts of veiled legal threats.
    You hide under a pseudonym and spill your diatribe .
    I read your initial post out to my son and he advised me not to answer, in his words, 'people like that want an audience, sadly it's the only thing in their small uninteresting lives that gives them a bit of self kudos,
    I intend to take his advice! Not just because he's right, but because I find you bloody depressing and I think all those so called 'dissenters' who you claim seek you out must be equally sad.
    I don't have a husband and I would bet everything a bore like you doesn't have a wife.

  13. Tirana,
    I will not be fighting with you. I don't intend to lower the tone of this piece or this blog!
    I have avoided you thus far, butt that claptrap today was honestly a bridge too far, however that really is my lot concerning you!

  14. Israel says it fired a single mortar round into the "empty school playground"where 16 kid were murdered, I ask why would they waste a mortar round ? there,s a guy works down the chip shop swears he,s Elvis he,s a liar to...

  15. Tirana, I find militant Islam ugly too so this subject very difficult. However , I start at the point that occupation is always wrong, and that the occupier cannot be allowed to choose the means of resistance (like they do in Ireland today ).Thus propaganda is discernible and you see that Hamas comes from Palestinian suffering , Palestinian suffering doesn't come from Hamas.

  16. Tiarna, Your own subjective fear about living under Hamas wasn't mirrored by Christians who voted for Hamas in 2006. Granted they may have been voting Fatah out because of problems with corruption but they must have had some degree of awareness of the decision they were making. It looks like the Israeli Defence Force are creating more problems for Christians than Hamas are. By bombing the towns and cities where they live for example.

    In an interview on Friday Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld ruled out any links between the men responsible for the murdering of the three teenagers and Hamas, saying they are part of a “lone cell.”

    In any case that was in the West Bank not Gaza.

    Gaza is suffering but not at Hamas' hands. My mum used to say "look what you made me do" and hit me a clip round the ear. It didn't work as an excuse then and it shouldn't be an excuse for Israel's disproportionate and inhumane response today.

  17. Fionnuala

    Ok maybe you referred to partner not husband. Now you are making it a family affair dragging your son into it. Unfortunately you did not heed his advice. Oh not that old chestnut of how brave you are using your real name and others don't --maybe your sons advice was face-saving advice. "however that really is my lot concerning you! for fucks sake stop keep saying that its tiresome; your giving me an audience to make a fool of yourself -listen to your son more.

  18. daithD

    I actually agree with you but i develop the idea a little further -- just because an oppressed people has a right to attack their oppressor does not mean that it is always morally right to do so. In this instance Hamas are fighting to the last drop of the civilian Palestinian people. Generally the objective of insurgency is not to have your own people annihilated and oppressed even more.

  19. Simon
    In NI there were always Castle Catholics too and that did not legitimize Unionist Supremacy.

    Gazan's do suffer at the hand of Hamas as several documentaries on the matter have revealed. I think more accurately Christians may have opted for what they perceive as the lesser evil -that is not the same as they would not share my fears.

  20. Tiarna, are you saying that the Christians who voted for Hamas shared your fears about living under them? That's a little strange as although it was indeed a vote for the lesser of two evils the reasoning was about corruption, not fear. Why vote for a party to rule over you if you fear that exact consequence?

    All peoples to one degree or another suffer under any government so Hamas wouldn't be any different. My point is Israel is more of a nuisance to Christians in Gaza than Hamas.

  21. Simone

    The Christians are a minority within a larger Muslim population -I know Irish people in England who used to vote Labour as a lesser evil than Conservative on Irish matters. I also know Irish Nationalists who voted for Ian Paisley and an IRA family in Tyrone who always voted SDLP (80's - 90's) because the SDLP represented them better than SF. It is not unthinkable that Christians might prefer one Muslim group over another for whatever reason but that does not mean they fully support or trust them to act in their best interests.

    As for any Christians in Gaza I would think they are more in danger from Israel than merely inconvenienced. It also makes me wonder if Christians are in districts being bombed are they surviving where their neighbours are not?

  22. Tirana,
    Are you speaking about the man who was in the Crumlin the same time as you and contradicted all the nonsense you produced about the guilty plea?
    Compared to you, I suppose I am brave yes. I have the courage of my convictions under my own name not some pseudonym.
    The time of the FRU debate, which you were wrong about also, people were pissed off at your hiding, so it's not just me.
    My son has no interest in someone like you or your opinions, he didn't want me to answer because he thought you were an attention craving idiot, not me.
    You are tiresome, maybe that's why you are a magnet for tiresome beliefs .
    Victims are responsible for their own plight, listen to yourself! Were you responsible for your own plight in the HBlocks ?
    Don't bother to answer, as I said I'm done with you.
    Sine e.

  23. My use of the word "nuisance" was a deliberate euphemism.

    It would be difficult to prove categorically if Christians in Gaza are suffering more than or less than others as they are only 0.1% to 0.2% of the population. Too small to impact significantly on statistics of dead and wounded. Saying that, are the Israelis deliberately targeting civilians or just being indiscriminate?

  24. Fionnula

    Your just not someone who sticks to their word. If I remember right you said you were never going to respond -that doesn't work by telling me: "Don't bother to answer" I think that is a beezer one! --had me in stitches anyway!

    FRU are a prime example for this blog in that they targeted unarmed innocent young men. Funny how its you who bring them up.

    Yeah both the FRU and someone else say that the FRU were elite and cream of special forces -that is still BULLSHIT! they were cowards who shot unarmed civilians in the back and ran. There is nothing elite about FRU. Are you defending them by proxy again?

    If you can't keep your own word at least listen to your son's advice.

  25. Tiarna you make imo a valid point about about provoking a superior force,but to follow your logic then those who initiated the Warsaw ghetto uprising committed a war crime,I think you would agree a cara that in some cases it is far better to die on your feet than on your knees, personally speaking I can see no logic in Hamas firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel,they are not on anything near a level playing field militarily speaking and therefore ineffective and resulting in an overkill response by IDF. a new and thought out response to the illegal actions of Israel by the Arab nations has to be a priority,one thing for sure is that there will be no solution forthcoming from the west,the peace envoy Tony bLIAR who has made millions in his position as the UK peace envoy is as quiet as Gerry Adams on his time in the RA.

  26. marty

    I agree and "in some cases it is far better to die on your feet than on your knees" That of course is something that has its place in Irish history. I was considering the men and women of 1916 who did just that but what I thought was if they knew that every shot that they fired would be to sacrifice the civilian population and not themselves would they have done what they did? Even during The Troubles I do not see the IRA continuing with a campaign that was decimating Nationalist districts and lives as is happening (repeatedly) in Gaza. And no way do I see the IRA doing that so that they could boast that the Brits have not stopped us from firing damp squibs and shouting Tiocfaidh ár lá. I do not even see any Dissident factions going that far.

    As for the Warsaw ghetto uprising. That arose after Jews learned that when they are taken away by the Germans they are being killed not oppressed. That was a one way ticket situation and when crushed they were either shot or sent to a concentration camp. As bad as things might be for Palestinians its not the same situation.

    Whether the Jews were victorious or not I do not see that taking on the Germans could be a war crime? Their only chance at survival was in winning because they were going to die fighting or in gas chambers. It may not be ideal for Palestinians but they have better odds.

  27. You are wrong about Rwanda: Rwanda was PURE CIVILIANS - basically everyone who was a Tutsi. The women and children dead would outnumber the men simply because they would account for a larger amount of the population.

    In Bosnia and Kosovo the majority were COMBATANTS.
    There was a huge Muslim army in Bosnian which was LARGER than the Serbian forces.

    In Kosovo you had the KLA which actually initiated the violence/killing.

    The reason why mostly men were killed in Bosnia and Kosovo was due to the fact that they were FIGHTERS.

    The media is falsely trying to portray that they were civilians and not killed in battles/skirmishes, which is not true.

    And the Balkans wars were SET UP with the west sponsoring the non-Serb separatists to break up Yugoslavia into ethnically pure or divided statelets to be easier for the EU to absorb or control and dictate to.

    Also, it was done to expand NATO/U.S. bases and practice for the ultimate objective - Russia.

    The Israel-Palestinian conflict is far different than the Balkans conflict, and the Balkans is very different than Rwanda.


    That war was only stopped by an invading force made up of expatriate Tutsi's who had grown up in the neighboring African countries and were soldiers in those armies.
    The Hutu government was so busy killing of the Tutsi civilians that they couldn't fight the invading army which stopped the genocide.

    The French government was totally on the Hutu genociders' side.

  28. Tiarna, I didn't know you were an ex-H Block prisoner until Fionnuala pointed it out (not that I care either way). Did you lose your mind (and humanity) in the Blocks? To blame the oppressed for their own misfortunes is beyond belief. Alfie Gallagher didn't have to look far for apologists for war criminals when he has you here. What you posted on here would get you a very firm pat on the back from Mark Regev, Netanyahu's mouthpiece in chief. Do you post such Bollocks for notice or is it just to wind people up and annoy them? If that's the case, then you must have a very sad life. Maybe what Fionnuala alluded to was right, maybe you need to get "your hole" to let out all your pent up frustrations. And before you ask, I've been happily living in sin for the past 30 years (and believe me the sex gets better with age!). Effectively, what you are saying is, that every liberation struggle in history was either wrong or/and stupid because people who "deigned" to fight back and get the jackboot of oppression off their necks, and civilians killed by the oppressors because of that, was the fault of the people fighting back. Catch a grip, would you. I don't know you (and judging by your postings, I wouldn't want to) but, would you say the same about the people involved in the "Battle of the Bogside" (among others) because that brought "Fire and Brimstone" down on the civilian population? At least go back to school and try to learn something!

  29. Think tiarna is at the wind-up here. Honestly don't see that anyone who spent time in the H-Blocks could be taking the side of Zionism on some twisted 'moral' stance unless they were on a loyalist wing in the 'Blocks'.

    However it does seem to me the firing of rockets is a total waste of time. Like people who joined paramilitaries here knowing they were riddled with touts but never-the-less felt strongly enough that something needed done. Stupidity in hindsight and cringe-worthy looking where 'top-dogs' all ended up, Stormont.

    Hamas seem to have no scruples in sacrificing tens of hundreds of its own people for propaganda purposes. No different here back in the day only on a smaller scale. But political opinion is belatedly swinging in the Palestinians favour and sadly it has taken this slaughter in response to 3 deaths to mobilise even a semblance of international reaction to Israel. How sad/sick is that.

    By the way is there no such thing as a police force in Israel? Are 3 murders' always responded to with fighter jets and a thousand + civilian deaths in retaliation?

  30. "Are 3 murders' always responded to with fighter jets and a thousand + civilian deaths in retaliation"? Larry, yes. I don't want to get into whataboutery here, but a young Palestinian boy of 15 was burned alive by Israeli settlers after the killing of those three Israeli youths. Gaza has been under siege by Israel (aided and abetted by the wankers in Egypt) for some time now, and maybe Hamas thinks the only way to get attention for this is by firing rockets into Israel (as ineffective as that might be). Strange, isn't it that Israel decided to flex its muscles just after Hamas and Fatah had come to an arrangement of sorts, and went in on the ground the same day as the passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine, maybe thinking that the world's attention would turn exclusively towards that instead of their murderous campaign. They of course didn't reckon on social media which has got more news out than the usual lying bastards that make up the so-called "mainstream media". I am not a Palestinian (and I take it you aren't either) but I haven't seen nor heard any Palestinian blaming Hamas for anything that is happening to them.

  31. Belfastgit is onto something here when he refers to the truce or unity deal between Hamas and Fatah as the spark for conflict. Back in April, the day after the pact was made Netanyahu threatened Abbas saying that if he wanted peace he'd have to abandon the agreement with Hamas.

    Was the unity deal the cause and the Gaza attacks the effect? Surely that isn't why Palestinians were killed during the search for the Israeli teenagers or why all hell has broken loose.

  32. Simon, thank you. I also saw that six Palestinians were killed and about 100 wounded during protests in the West Bank as well, (probably more now). I can't get the image of that wee Palestinian girl with the two black eyes out of my head, (I have grand-kids the same age) I am not ashamed to say that I cried while watching that, unlike the fucking scumbags that inflicted her injuries.

  33. I cried also. Nothing to be ashamed about. If someone inflicts injuries like that in Jon Snow's footage on any civilian let alone a completely defenceless child they have much to be ashamed about and little humanity.

    Cry when watching I'd say you have nothing to be ashamed about. It only demonstrates decency and empathy.

    The Ulster Unionist John Taylor has spoken out against the carnage. He isn't my favourite politician but at least he can demonstrate a little objectivity and didn't take the easy way out.

  34. Am

    I posted earlier in reply to 4:46 AM, July 28, 2014
    larry hughes said...


    Read my posts I am not blaming the oppressed? I'm saying the Palestinians are getting it from both sides, Hamas are not resisting they are bringing it on there is a difference.

    Better still if your suspicions are right about the truce or unity deal between Hamas and Fatah motivating Israel then Hamas played right into Israels hands at the cost of their own peoples lives. Personally I see comparisons with what the Sri Lankans did to the Tamils only the Israelis probably don't want the headache of actually occupying Gaza long term. And what the fuck did all the worlds outrage ever do for the Tamils? They still got slaughtered. Tamil Tigers fought as best they could to no avail but in this case Hamas are drawing the Israelis on and we all know that the Israelis would like nothing better. Hamas are not firing rockets for any Palestinian agenda but the agenda of those who are financing and arming them and who are not Palestinians.

    If armed men break into your house you don't sacrifice your family to get them out you have to be a bit more considerate and strategic than that.

  35. James,

    I hate to be harsh, but your comment is idiotic. You support your arguments with nothing more than unsubstantiated assertions. Retyping said assertions in block capitals does not make them any more credible; it is merely the written equivalent of shouting.

    If you had bothered to read my article properly and to check my sources, you would have discovered the following:

    1) The genocide scholar Adam Jones states that though "[t]he gender dimension of the killings is one of the least-known and least-investigated aspects of the Rwanda genocide", most of the dead were Tusti males and moderate Hutu males. He cites the research of Judy el-Bushra and TCD's Ronit Lentin to support his argument. Here is an extract from Judy El-Bushra's research:

    "During the war of 1994, and particularly as a result of the genocidal massacres which precipitated it, it was principally the men of the targeted populations who lost their lives or fled to other countries in fear. ... This targeting of men for slaughter was not confined to adults: boys were similarly decimated, raising the possibility that the demographic imbalance will continue for generations. Large numbers of women also lost their lives; however, mutilation and rape were the principal strategies used against women, and these did not necessarily result in death." (Judy El-Bushra, "Transformed Conflict: Some Thoughts on a Gendered Understanding of Conflict Processes," in Susie Jacobs et al., eds., States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance [Zed Books, 2000], p. 73.)

    2) I accept that most of those killed in the Bosnia and Kosovo wars were male combatants, but I was not discussing combatant deaths. I referred to civilian casualties only.

    According to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), at least 75 percent of the civilian casualties of the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina were male. Similarly, in the Kosovo War, Adam Jones points out that "the Serbs overwhelmingly targeted 'battle-age' men for the most severe atrocities". Jones cites the following extract from report issued after the Kosovo war by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE):

    "Young men were the group that was by far the most targeted in the conflict in Kosovo ... Clearly, there were many young men involved in the UCK [Kosovo Liberation Army] ... but every young Kosovo Albanian man was suspected of being a terrorist. If apprehended by Serbian forces -- VJ [Yugoslav army], police or paramilitary -- the young men were at risk, more than any other group of Kosovo society, of grave human rights violations. Many were executed on the spot, on occasion after horrendous torture. Sometimes they would be arrested and taken to prisons or other detention centres, where, as described afterwards by men released from such detention, they would be tortured and ill-treated, while others would simply not be seen again. Others were taken for use as human shields or as forced labour. Many young men 'disappeared' following abduction."

    3) Of course, female civilians also suffered terribly in these conflicts. Not as many women were killed as men, but women were far more likely to be raped. Indeed, in the conflicts referred to above, women were raped in the same systematic way that "combat-age" men were killed.

  36. Alfie, the use of rape as a weapon in war is something that truly horrifies me. It seems that no country which suffers from war is immune.

    Unfortunately in Ireland as elsewhere there has been a stigma attached to victims of sexual violence which is perhaps why it has taken so long to hear more about the abuses during the Tan War and by both sides in the civil war.

    I assumed there would be reprehensible action during the former but was particularly alarmed and dismayed by the latter.

    I suppose the Civil War was a particularly ferocious and unforgiving one.

    It would have been easy to dismiss such reports for convenience sake but you either learn or become blinkered.

    Your last post weighs heavily in favour of your argument.

  37. Simon,

    I agree. Even in an age of truly murderous technology, rape is arguably mankind's most awful weapon of war. Indeed, though it might be controversial to say, I believe torture and rape to be the worst crimes of all. To my mind, torture -- whether it is of a physical, mental or sexual nature -- is far worse than swift execution or death on the battlefield. The vast majority of the victims of sexual war crimes are female, but there is a growing awareness that the rape of boys and men is a significant wartime phenomenon.

    To be honest, I haven't read anything about sexual violence during the revolutionary period in Ireland. Has it been examined in any of the newer histories of the conflict?

  38. Alfie, History Ireland had a book review of Dr. Ann Matthews' two recent works "Renegades" and "Dissidents" praising her examination of sexual violence against women of that period. It referred to the growing acknowledgment of the subject generally in academia whilst gently critising Matthews for one-diminsional portraits of the main female protagonists.

  39. Thanks for the information, Simon. I knew nothing about the incidence of sexual violence during the revolutionary period, but it stands to reason that it would have occurred.

    In his excellent new book Peace After the Final Battle, John Dorney argues that there was a stark contrast between the image of the Free State and the sordid reality:

    "Was there really a new moral order in independent Ireland, freed, as some Catholic nationalists like to imagine, from corrupting British influences? Certainly the appearance was there. ‘The Monto’, for instance, the red-light district of Dublin, was closed down in 1925 by the police after a popular campaign led by lay Catholic activists in the Legion of Mary. Often, though, official piety hid a sordid reality. In 1930 the Free State set up a committee under a retired senior counsel, Carrigan, into sexual offences in Ireland. What they found was profoundly shocking to a new state that prided itself on its Catholic morality. From 1927 to 1929, Garda Commissioner Eoin O’Duffy told them, sexual assaults on females had risen by 63 per cent and on males by 43 per cent. O’Duffy believed that around 6,000 children had been sexually abused in this three-year period alone.

    "The Cumann na nGaedheal Government decided to bury the report. It might, they concluded, embarrass important people to discover that ‘ordinary feelings of decency and the influence of religion has failed and the only remedy is police action’. As a result, ‘it is clearly undesirable’, the Cabinet was told, ‘that such a view of conditions in the Saorstát should be given wide circulation. And even darker than such figures is the fact that we now know that much of this abuse was taking place inside facilities such as industrial schools and Magdalene Laundries paid for by the state but operated by the Roman Catholic Church."

    But Irish people were not mere helpless victims of the Church. As Dorney points out, most of them were staunch supporters of our theocracy:

    "According to one historian, the ‘Irish democratic process was tinged by theocracy… opinions expressing contrary views were downplayed or even censored’. Whatever the dark face of clerical power was, however, it was not unpopular until much later in the twentieth century. As late as the 1960s, over 90 per cent of Catholics in Dublin thought that their Church was the greatest force for good in the country, and some 87 per cent would have backed the Catholic Church in any confrontation with the Irish state."

  40. Thanks Alfie, I will look up that book by Dorney. Sounds detailed and wide in scope.

  41. Alfie,

    when the well oiled wheels of any propaganda machine turn you could be standing outside in the freezing pouring rain and the machine would convince many that you were warm and dry and worse it can convince those it is neither cold nor raining.

    I imagine without the internet this would be worse as the truth would be well doctored and be on an extremely slow drip feed. Decent ethical journalists along with bloggers and videos and pictures can’t stop tyrants from inflicting human misery but can expose them by showing and telling the truth.

    As always your pieces are well thought-out, keep fighting the good fight my friend.

    All the best

  42. Tiarna,

    “I should add even the NAZI's and Japanese stopped fighting because their civilian populations were being directly targeted and suffering the brunt of the war. Hamas are feeding of the death of its own people.”

    I don’t see the comparison working on that as Hamas do not possess the military capabilities of the Nazis or the Japanese if they did and were deliberately targeting innocent Israeli civilians I would like to believe the condemnation would be equally against that.

    The Nazis stopped fighting after they had no choice Hitler give a rant about how the Germans above him in his bunker deserved what they get blaming the people for his demise and his delusion of a Third Reich.

    It would be debatable that the Japanese would have surrendered the American estimated losses of an invasion were extremely high that might have been propaganda but given the Japanese army bitterly fought to almost the last man and to the last inch of ground.
    It is plausible that invading Japan would have produced high American casualties.

    Dropping 2 Atomic bombs might have speeded up the surrender but even then there was still a great reluctance in accepting what they viewed as a shameful weakness, surrendering.

    Both the German and Japanese civilians were being bombed long before the war ended not to forget the English civilians suffered the same.

  43. Nuala,

    for what its worth in my opinion you always argue your points squarely even when things get a bit bumpy, rightly so, you stand your ground.

    Best wishes

  44. Alfie,

    I read a book review today that contradicts the book review I mentioned and had a link to above.

    Perhaps the review in History Ireland is supported in a way rather than being diminished. If previous books and published interviews ignored the subject of sexual violence against women during and before the Civil War in Ireland that assertion wouldn't necessarily be weakened by a new book review that suggests otherwise. It would be par for the course.

    However I feel a serious read of all three books from both reviews taken together might answer the question.

    Here is the review which contradicts the History Ireland one (above). This is The Link.