Sunday, August 1st 2021, Dungiven.
After speaking to my comrade Kevin Lynch for the final time, we parted company and I returned to my cell after the mass. His physical appearance and his last words to me would haunt me for the rest of my life. I was totally aware of the brutality and gross inhumanity that Kevin had been subjected to in the worst Blanket block of all, H Block 3, under the iron fist of PO Paddy Joe Kerr, a war criminal devoid of any sense of humanity or compassion.
There was an inevitability about the situation that Kevin and all of us found ourselves in by 1981, having endured over 4 long years of stark inhumanity at the hands of a callous British Government which refused to recognise us as soldiers and prisoners of war. Our backs were against the wall and we were finally left with 2 choices, either to surrender and accept criminal status, or charge the field through the prison hunger strike to the death and make a final and heroic stand.
Significantly, Kevin Lynch was not driven by hatred of our enemy, but instead by a deep sense of love for us, his comrades, who had become his brothers through suffering. He was prepared to offer up his life for us in an attempt to bring all of our suffering to an end. He felt that he had a duty to the men who had died before him on hunger strike and equally he had a duty to step forward and end the plight of the 300 men like myself who were still entombed in concrete hells. His selfless courage and unparalleled heroism continues to resonate to this day. No honour is too much, no praise too high for this Dungiven son, a shining example of what humanity can really achieve.
Those of us who survived 1981 have lived with the guilt and the pain of loss, which is at times beyond human comprehension, as we struggle in our journey through life knowing that Kevin Lynch and the others laid down their lives for us by breaking our chains through the prison hunger strike. The oppressed Irish people in the North of Ireland may have depended upon us, but we in turn depended upon one another during the H Block struggle and that was the real driving force of the hunger strike in 1981.
Today, the legacy of Kevin Lynch is all around us if we stop for a moment and contemplate on our journey thus far. That journey is not over yet, we are still on it, but the beacon of hope that Kevin lit with his own life on the 1st August 1981, continues to guide those of us who are believers in the cause of Irish Freedom, the soldiers of destiny, and his guiding light will eventually lead us home.
Postscript. His headstone reads, A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
The true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality - Ernesto Che Guevara.
Kerr eventually was rewarded the same mercy he meted out.ReplyDelete
Sadistic as Kerr may well have been, that was no justification for the taking of his life.Delete
We'll have to agree to differ on that Barry.Delete
Paddy Joe Kerr was well to the fore in his prosecution of the British war effort.
There was I.e everyone has the right to defend themselves even if legislation says otherwise. The IRA found it necessary to defend their comrades in long kesh by dealing appropriately with their torturer.......after all he ignored warnings to desist.Delete
Unknown - if your comment is for publication please sign off on it. TPQ does not carry comments by "Unknown"ReplyDelete
Barry if you think that a man who doesn't have to answer to anyone for the sexual assault and the the most horrific inhumane torture of naked men doesn't warrant his death,then you my friend are as messed up as Kerr himself was. Posted by eoinReplyDelete
He should have answered for his crimes in a court of law and received the appropriate sentence just as the 200 odd rapists and pederasts that the IRA Army Council covered up for should have; just as the thousands of sexual abusers shielded by the Catholic Church should have.Delete
There was no justification for the premeditated taking of any lives in the NI conflict. Period.
Barry - there was no chance of him answering to a court of law where the rule of law was really the rule of law enforcement. How many of them ever have?Delete
It would have been much better that nobody had been killed and I very much dislike the sense of entitlement that goes with saying "I have the right to kill you". But mitigation in this case makes up the shortfall between justified and unjustified. The tormented never get too upset when their tormentor is taken out of the picture and to expect much in the way of post-event empathy is going to end in disappointment.
Eoin/Unknown - The issue is that there IS a way of dealing with offenders such as Kerr. Why would Kerr be any more deserving of death, than say any of the lads on H Blocks, or indeed other notorious rapists/sadistic sexual predators, dare I say it - even within the Republican movement and Catholic Church? Not sure you actually read Barry's comment - he never said that he wasnt to answer to anyone, ut he should have been given the same rights as those he abused.....Delete
"There was no justification for the premeditated taking of any lives in the NI conflict. Period."
How myopic, naïve and self-righteous your position is on this.
Barry maybe give a little bit of respect to Seamus and his tribute to his friend. I would rather post here on the very moving tribute to Oglach Kevin Lynch than to a lesser degree a sadistic PO whose name does not deserve to be mentioned in any form of conversation or sentence that includes the names of a Hunger Striker or any Blanket men that he abused. Many times on my way up to Doire City i have stopped and pondered, said a prayer at Kevin s mural in Dungiven , i have often thought what would he think of where we have ended up , Going in to Dail Eirann, administering British rule in the 6 Counties, you could go on and on, Kevin Lynch captained Doire U 16 s to an all Ireland Hurling title in 1972 . A huge loss to his family and to Dungiven. go bhfanfaidh se i suaimhneasReplyDelete
I have no doubt he was a huge loss to his family - however, given that he was spending 20 years of his life in prison for the horrific murder of a lady who was merely going about her business, I'd say she's a huge loss to her family also. I have some understanding now as to the predicament the hunger strikers saw themselves in, and yes, they were brothers, fathers, sons and friends, but let's not forget the deeds that some of those men did..... Perhaps when eulogising in future, one could also remember their victims. I know a former INLA prisoner, who everytime he tells his story, does just that.
Lesley / NRH,Delete
he was not convicted of her murder. That does not lessen the impact of her death and the loss to her loved ones, nor is it meant to be pedantic.
People do not join the IRA and INLA because they wanted to be tiddlywink champions: they joined to take up arms and once arms enter the equation there is the destruction of life.
I don't think combatants are going to officially "remember" their victims. I would not expect the RUC, UDR or British Army to "remember" their victims. I think the best we can get is to allow the opposition to remember their combatants rather than insist that they "remember" ours as well.
I find it obnoxious that the floral tributes to those killed at Narrowwater should be desecrated even though the Paras have done nothing but smear their victims. Commemorations are like funerary ritual - how many times have you heard somebody say while delivering a funeral oration "we gather here to say farewell to a cunt."? These things are invariably shaded in our own favour. We should be neither compelled to remember nor forget.
If I did think taking of human life was justified in favour of "the cause"; then I would have got involved with "the cause".
Perhaps you might enlighten me into which circumstances you believe justified the taking of human life in NI.
Kevin Lynch's death was indeed a tragedy for his family and should not have happened. But he did belong to an organisation that was a byword for sectarian atrocity, savage internecine feuding and later on drug dealing.
I do accept that Anthony's point though that prosecution of the Paddy Joe Wards of this world would have been well nigh impossible at the time.
Barry I respect your right to be a conscientious objector but you're going to have to find another remedial teacher. Your confirmation biases on these matters preclude much opportunity for a worthwhile discussion.Delete
But hey, if you want some comfort, you're far from alone in all that.
(Last night, after reading this piece I pursued the topic further and landed on a 2008 article in the Guardian which gives the struggle broader context: I can't confirm the veracity of the remarks attributed to Tim Pat, but they paint one far removed from your narrow view.
'An estimated 100,000 people attended his (Sands) funeral in Belfast on 5 May, streets were named after him in Paris and Tehran, and according to Tim Pat Coogan: "The French government offered the Dublin government two gestures of solidarity, which Dublin declined. One was to boycott the British royal wedding, the other that President Mitterrand attend Bobby Sands's funeral."
I also took time to read two reviews here on TPQ of Paul McGlinchey's book 'The Truth Will Out'.
Alas, with as much kindness as I can muster I can only reaffirm my original comment).
Nrh even if you disagree with what Kevin lynch and his comrades on the blanket did before the arrived in the blocks surely you must agree that they were sentenced and should have been left to serve there time with the same respect and dignity as say any other prisoner in ireland and england, Kerr was rewarded for his inhumane treatment of human beings(screw on the blocks were paid far more than there colleagues in other prisons for this reason alone). Kerr was never going to answer for his heinous crimes against humanity any other way, and btw I wouldn't see a problem with a repeat or child molester getting the same treatment, in fact I'd be all for it. EoinReplyDelete
Firstly can I make this point but if a man was shooting at you there is not much point in trying to talk to said man, you need to defend yourself and try and kill him before he kills you, period... Can I ask when Kerr shot at anyone?
Secondly - Whilst I have an understanding of the Blanket/Hunger protests and yes after having read Ricky O'Rawe's book and spoken to a few blanket protesters now, the facts remain as this : 1) The brutality of some officers went far beyond any role they would have had as professionals and yes, they should have been disciplined, sacked and faced court 2) It's also been accepted by many former prisoners that when they complied they were not beaten etc, its the chicken and egg scenario - were the screws beating up the compliant prisoners so the prisoners then became uncompliant or were the prisoners wrecking cells, refusing orders then got battered?
I know that there are power crazy people in every job, those who throw their weight about purely because they can, and thats completely wrong, but I'm also all too aware that regime in prison was being fought against vehemently by prisoners and discipline (not severe torture and beatings) had to be enforced. Respect and dignity goes both ways, I know Ive expressed my utter disgust openly to all involved in the dirty protest - where was their own respect and dignity for themselves?
I get that everyones views and perspectives come from their own background so I'm certainly not trying to 'change' attitudes, rather put another side to what is the fact. If you don't see a problem with killing child molestors or whoever, then it would seem to me that your morals are a tad hypocritical. You are ok to have their respect and dignity stripped but not other murderers etc. If we have a rule of law for one, we have to have it for every criminal surely?.... In my heart I would love to see baby abusers, animal abusers go to the gallows, but I like everyone else has to abide by the law whether I like it or not.....
Lastly, Kerr was not 'rewarded' for his inhumane treatment - screws in Northern Ireland - just like police got paid more here than their counterparts because we were getting shot in front of our young children or blown up in our cars ....
Lesley /NRH - people use what they can in the situation they find themselves in. It was like being in trenches. In the infamous cages within the Scottish prison system, the prisoners covered their own bodies in excrement to deter the screws from approaching them to beat them. There is more dignity in protesting in the no wash manner than there is in torturing people. Like yourself I cannot abide torture and would invite you to reflect on the torture orchestrated by the thug Bill Mooney when he played a key role in running CID - his role is described quite well in Cruel Britannia. The very question you ask of blanket protestors about dignity can also be asked of those colleagues of yours that engaged in torture.Delete
The brutality in the H Blocks was not a mere means to enforce discipline but a strategy to break the protest. interlocked with the deprivation strategy. There is no case that can be made for beating prisoners for the mere act of non compliance.
"If we have a rule of law for one, we have to have it for every criminal surely?"
Therein lies our differences. What you see as criminality I see as rebellion against an apartheid state, an apartheid state conceived under the threat of violence and counter to the democratic wishes of the majority of elected Westminster House of Commons MP's.
Through the Ulster Covenant and the Curragh Mutiny Political Unionism undermined not just the rule of law but also democratic Irish Nationalism as in the guise of The Irish Parliamentary Party, which in turn lead to the revolutionary phase of 1916.
How dare you madam continue with your vain attempts at criminalisation.
And barry can I just say I don't believe the taking of any life is justified but if a man was shooting at you there is not much point in trying to talk to said man, you need to defend yourself and try and kill him before he kills you, period.... eoinReplyDelete
If you had looked more closely at my comment, you would notice that I had stated my opposition to the "premeditated" taking of human life.
Killing in situations of self-defence is quite a different matter which I am sure you will appreciate
Whilst I try to engage with folk and listen to their views and once listening to and weighing up the debate, if I do disagree, I think I'm respectful enough to agree to disagree... Having said that, i WILL INDEED DARE and will continue to dare to see another side of the conflict..... Perhaps if you were mature enough to realise this or not so blinded by your incessant need to justify murder then we could actually have a debate. However, you Sir, are not actually worth my time nor my energy until you learn some respect for others background and viewpoints.
Judging the votes which the SDLP got from (mostly) the CNR community before Sinn Fein shamelessly appropriated their political clothes at any one time between 57 and 65% of said community could also be counted as "conscientious objectors."
In your reply to Lesley, you talk of "a rebellion against an apartheid state conceived under the threat of violence" which is not incorrect. The thing is though this state collapsed in 1972.
Perhaps you are the one requiring remedial education as to the history of NI after 1972 and justification for the armed struggle thereafter bearing in mind the consistently expressed electoral preferences of the CNR community for peaceful and constitutional change.
I am wondering if you ever answered the call up yourself. I might have more respect for you if you did.
that's you put back in your box Henry Joy LOL.Delete
Hope I don't detect a hint of schadenfreude in that comment sir!Delete
Holidaying in West Cork, will address Lesley and Barry's weak responses later.
Henry - please enjoy your holiday however as you have already shown to me that you 'respect' Barrys right to have his view, but I am a madam and how dare I have a viewpoint different to yours, I feel that any response from you will be treated with the contempt you treated mine. In other words - don't bother.......Delete
AM's comments about the dignity of torturers is interesting. In Cruel Brittania, one of the RUC's "A Squad" team of interrogators (who used what could be described as torture systematically in order to extract confessions from paramilitary suspects) reflects on how he, and others, are left "popping Prozac and taking our pills in the night." It seems many practitioners of abuse did not walk away from it unscathed.ReplyDelete
I am of the opinion, and I plan to write a piece about this if I can find enough evidence, is that if the RUC and NI prisons service were *not* involved in widespread brutality and human rights abuses, then they would have been the exception in the British Isles. The 70s & 80s, and to an extent the 90s, were a time of accepted state brutality in Britain and Ireland (north & south).
Gerry Conlon described the brutality of British prison officers, and not just towards Irish prisoners. Conlon alleges that many British prison officers were members of the National Front.
There were a series of excellent films made about Strangeways prison, in 1980, and again, 25 years after the 1990 Strangeways riot. In the 2015 film, one of the officers described how he was trained as a prison officer in the 1960s, by men who had probably been trained in the 1930s, by men who had been trained in Victorian times.
I look forward to reading it and whilst I will never say beatings and torture did not occur, I can honestly say I never saw torture... Then again, I was a 'pleb' on the street, so the only time I saw any violence towards members of the public were when they actually deserved a slap!! Many times the arrested people actually had a conversation with me regarding deserving it! I have on ONE occasion stepped in when a prisoner was completely NOT deserving of the battering he got.....
Not really here, that is were the cop mentality comes in, whoever received the slap might think he didn't deserve it, he might get one slap too many, retaliate through rioting, get another slap, and decide the next time he's just going to open up. The reality of being dominated by a bigger, stronger arrogant opponent is the reality of being belittled, your loved ones insulted, your home ransacked, to which the question of violence becomes omnipresent, and forced to chose, some decide that when violence becomes the answer it becomes the only answer. How many bullets fired at the ruc can be traced back to a slap? We all justify murder, just depends on how you distort the definition.ReplyDelete
David My 'cop mentality' ? No - indeed if you actually read my comment, I said very many agreed that they deserved it! When I say they got a slap, it certainly wasn't just for nothing! I will not stand by and let someone spit on my face, push me about and resist arrest - the only time I was aggressive or physical with anyone was when I was being treated in the same way. Might be hard for you to understand but in every societal group we have a system of discipline - yip - even in the IRA - I on the other hand left my prisoners alive and on the whole unmarked.Delete
Nrh, c'mon now, of course I read it, otherwise what am I replying to? Let's not be condescending, it lowers the tone. Let's call it what it is, it's not a slap, it's an assault. Of course you've a right to self defense but it's got to proportionate. You could be the most disciplined, fair cop in history, I don't know. Here is my experience with cop violence, they would line you up from about the age of twelve, right through your teenage years, name, address, date of birth, listen to a bit of verbal, if you answered back, it was usually a slap, other times a punch, the odd time threw in the back and the shite kicked out you. At the time you just laughed about it, but the reality was 14,15,16 stone men assaulting kids who weighed 9 stone soaking wet, never once was the violence in self defence.Delete
Now I know there's mitigating circumstances, maybe among the teenagers an uncle or father stiffed a comrade and they are humans with human reactions, fine. Some of them were the age I'm now, I can't think of any mindset were I would jump out an armoured vehicle with an assault rifle, a short strapped to my hip and beat the bollocks out a fourteen year old boy, in my experience the good ones stayed silent and the bullies had their way.
Nrh the shooting was an example of how there was no talking to people like Kerr.prob could have chosen a better one so for that I apologise.it's not the chicken and egg at all. U use the word criminal to speak of blanket men,these were political prisoners fighting for political statuses with the only weapon they had, themselves.it is a well known fact that had there not been an abnormal situation in the north of Ireland these men would have been at work,yes had the men conformed they would have had a much easier sentence but why would one admit to being a criminal when one is not. Im sure you wouldn't admit to being a criminal when many would view the ruc as criminals, we all no of streets and monuments dedicated to blanket men all over the world the same cannot be said for Kerr or his colleagues.you say you want to put another side to the fact,you can't the facts are just that,fact. And the fact is Kerr tortured defenceless naked men without fear of court justice,FACT.my morals are not hypocritical at all people who rape and molest children deserve justice that your courts will never deliver so in my opinion the public need To deliver it and yes I believe there is a difference in murder cases from say political to criminal to the most heinous which is against kids,for this I make no apologies. RIP TO ALL THE BLANKETMEN WHO HAVE PASSED. EOINReplyDelete
@ Not Really HereReplyDelete
As you joined in 1989, that makes sense. AM has already mentioned Cruel Brittania - it goes into detail about RUC practise and policy around the use of torture, and how it was drastically reduced when John Hermon came in. There is an extract in The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/oct/11/inside-castlereagh-confessions-torture)
"The new chief constable was completely against any mistreatment of prisoners whatsoever," said one. "We started to detect a change from Bill Mooney straight away. Bill missed the Monday morning conference a couple of times – he was in with Hermon. One day Mooney came out and told us we were not to lay a finger on anybody at Castlereagh."
Men like Kerr (is alleged to have been) walk amongst us, in statistically troubling numbers. The problem is that systems were in place that rewarded the brutality the prisoners suffered.
I can see that you feel passionately about this, so excuse me for using an artistic depiction to illustrate a point. In the film Hunger, a screw well practised in brutality (fantastically portrayed by Stuart Graham) is shot dead in front of his mother. I must confess to having felt guttural satisfaction at seeing him meet a rough form of justice, the first time I saw the film. But then I felt differently. The officer in Hunger was a perpetrator and a victim, and his assassin, and those who pointed the finger, were arguably playing the same game as him, just with more lethal consequences.
There is something particularly offensive about a uniformed, paid representative of a state tormenting those unable to defend themselves. But I think the screws in HMP Maze indulging in brutality were political prisoners themselves. They just had different politics to those they had power over, and the veneer of officialdom.
You make a good point about a lack of memorials to Kerr, and the others. It makes me think of Albert Pierrepont being shunned by society. The facts are that a significant proportion of people in the North might well have had varying degrees of support for the brutality being meted out, whilst considering those administering it with suspicion or disdain.
I'll revisit this in the piece I'm going to write.
“I am wondering if you ever answered the call up yourself”.
Firstly, I don’t like Gerry Adams, deny I was ever in the IRA. Nor do I like Martin McGuinness, provide confirmation and dates. So essentially Barry at this point, I will neither confirm nor deny membership.
(As an aside though I can admit to having visited Long Kesh, Portlaoise Prison and also the Midlands Prison).
“I might have more respect for you if you did”.
At this stage of my life I have little need for your, or indeed anyone else’s, approval.
(In fact I’m pretty sure that a shaky sense of ‘self’ lies beneath much of the malaise that affects so many in contemporary society).
“In your reply to Lesley, you talk of "a rebellion against an apartheid state conceived under the threat of violence" which is not incorrect. The thing is though this state collapsed in 1972.
Perhaps you are the one requiring remedial education as to the history of NI after 1972 and justification for the armed struggle thereafter bearing in mind the consistently expressed electoral preferences of the CNR community for peaceful and constitutional change”.
Firstly, thank you for conceding to my point directed to Lesley. However, I must take issue with your proposition that the Northern State collapsed in ’72. Stormont collapsed yes, but the State trundled on and opposition to the coloniser remained legitimate. The State apparatus continued to behave in most unsavoury ways and can claim no legitimacy under Bunreacht Na hEireann, not until 1998; no legitimacy regardless of who the northern electorate supported. The crowd could have been manipulated into choosing Barabbas but choosing Barabbas couldn’t give legitimacy before ’98.
If there was no legitimacy under the constitution of Ireland why did Republicans not undertake a similar sustained campaign of violence against the Dublin government? If there was no legitimacy until 1998 does that make Bobby Sands political election meaningless? The shinner gains before 98? Genuinely curious.Delete
Republicans until 1986 didn't recognise the legitimacy of either state. Humiliated by defeat after the end of the Civil War they never regained enough capacity to seriously threaten the Southern State. In fact, probably to maintain an operational base and supply line for campaigns in the North and in England, General Army Orders specifically forbade military engagement with 26 county security force members.
I have drawn attention several times on here to the anomalies of the Westminster Fermanagh/South Tyrone seat. The seat was generally available to Republicans and Republican standard bearers as long as the vote wasn't split by a Nationalist candidate (There was an ongoing tussle throughout the 70's which kept Austin Currie of the SDLP from securing the Westminster seat). The seat had been won by Philip Clarke a sentenced POW back in 1955. Previous to Bobby's win the seat was held by Frank Maguire, a former OC of internees Crumlin Rd and previous to that by Frank McManus, whose brother Pat died on active service in the late 50's. It's important too, to remember that Clarke and Sands were abstentionist candidates. They were never going to take seats in any of the occupier's or for that matter partitionist assemblies.
The Sinn Féin constitution only allowed for participation on local councils, until the decision led by Adams & Co in '86 to abandon the abstentionist principle.
I understand, and will continue to understand should you refrain from further engagement. It really isn’t or won’t be a problem. All said and done you, Barry and myself, are each individually entitled to be wrong in our assessments and judgements.
As contexts shift perspectives will vary. That’s life. However, with access to more information, over time and with distance, emotions will cool and more objective and more accurate evaluations will become more likely; a consensus will evolve.
In time our recent history will be evaluated and commented upon in much the same way as ancient Greek and Roman ones are now considered. Though none of us will be around, my proposition, that political Unionism was essentially a supremacist outworking of imperialism and colonisation, will be broadly accepted. The heroic and sometimes violent struggle of the oppressed will be almost universally accepted (and applauded) too.
And though the tone of our times is generally one of what I consider saccharine rapprochement, I hope there are still a few readers out there who can allow space for those of us who demur from your attempts at criminalisation of largely decent men and women who courageously pushed back against supremacists.
It would be unfortunate were the engagement not to continue as it gives us some insight into the gulf that remains between perspectives. Tone might help - pitched at the wrong level and we get more heat than light.Delete
"Saccharine rapprochement" - I still need to think more about the value of that. What I see is sour rapprochement - the various protagonists come together with faces that look as if they have been sucking lemons.
I don't see how a consensus of the type you outline will emerge - it is a distant goal and the steps you outline have been pushed under the surface. The violent struggle of the oppressed as you term it is in many ways an embarrassment to those who benefited most from it. They are forced into showing the Brits up for what they were rather than speaking of the merits or legitimacy of the violent struggle.
And your own reflections on this blog about the violence of the oppressed, your praise for John Hume as the man who got it all right, to me shows the internal recalibration you have undergone.
The excesses of any campaign tend to become an embarrassment. That's why, more than likely, there ain't going to be a truth recovery process. Denials and distortions will be tolerated and even preferenced. Saccharine rapprochement phrases such as 'I would have preferred if no one had to die', and 'All deaths are regrettable' etc though truisms are also fundamental to all that.Delete
(I respect Lesley's attempts at review and applaud TPQ's inclusion of her writings. She ought though expect that her feet will held to the fire).
I don't think there will be a truth recovery process - at least not because of those who the truth is about. If it all it will be despite them.Delete
Would you not prefer that no one had died? I would and I see nothing saccharine about holding that view. I think it is saccharine when it is sued to deflect probing of why it happened or to engage in virtue signalling. The one thing about the self conscious ear is that it can detect the hypocrisy in its own voice. If we articulate a position and feel ourselves thinking "this might be gunk." I don't enjoy those moments but I learn from them.
When we think of what was achieved, it becomes hard to stand up and tell someone "yeah, your loved one's life was worth it." At the same time, best to stay mindful of Salman Rushdie's admonition that when a tyrant falls only hypocrites grieve.
You know my view on holding feet to the fire - if writers are prepared to stand up and be publicly identified with their views, then so too should their critics. Not only is is fair, it is also more effective. It removes the potential for bullying of writers. Does not apply here where no bullying or nastiness is involved, but as a general rule.
Here's the thing though about the self-conscious ear AM, it needs to be nurtured and developed. Self-awareness needs to be cultivated through self-reflection and new positions tested and tested yet again. Otherwise, the individual remains intellectually moribund and totally at the mercy of his/her, most likely flawed, conditioning and socialisation processes.Delete
The Socratic admonishment that 'the unexamined life is not worth living' remains unheard and confirmation biases go unchecked.
Replies to your questions:
The hypothetical question 'Would I not have preferred if no one had died?' is rhetorical and closed. The more open 'Why' question brings me to a deeper analysis and one which I remember you rather succinctly and correctly answering as: 'Sate violence leading to street violence'.
I can't imagine myself telling anyone “Yeah, your loved one's life was worth it". If I was sure they were able for an honest and forthright conversation it would have a different texture than that.
That said, and evaluating the broader context the words of your dearly departed friend and comrade comes to mind too!
"It wasn't worth missing breakfast for”!
I think that applies to the unconscious ear. The self conscious ear is attuned to its own contradictions in a way that the unconscious ear is not. It has become self conscious by that process of reflection.Delete
It seems a pretty straightforward question - I am unambivalent about it: I would much rather no one had died. At the same time I revisit Camus - as we have so often - and hold that it was as unjustifiable as it was unavoidable. State violence leading to street violence (borrowed from somewhere else) does not remove the obligation to reflect on street violence and its ethical and strategic limitations. Grievance does not hand out licence to redress in whatever way we like.
Toady, looking back over the course of my life, I think I would have been a much more useful republican had I tried to build society rather than bulldoze it. And yet faced with the same circumstances and at that age I would do it all again. Age and reflection enables me to tell my own 16 year old not to do any of it.
And here we come back to the crux of my position on this: do you accept the criminalisation of your younger self and that of your younger self's comrades?Delete
I can accept other people holding that view while I vigorously dissent from it.Delete
I certainly don't reject a criticism which war criminalises some IRA actions such as Kingsmill or disappearing people.
Bullying never worked with me and I too, am at a time in life and have gone through the rigours of life, near death, and the general shite that goes with living, whereby I don't need anyone's approval. Yes, even with writing. I write from the heart and what I feel I type, it's rare that I can re-read what I've written and say to myself 'thats crap'. But everyone is entitled to their view, as long as it's respectful with a willingness to at least see MY side of life. I'll reiterate, I'm not an academic, I don't eat a dictionary before typing, I just know that when I describe MY truth and the things I SAW, theyre the truth. Whether anyone believes it or not - is then up to them........
NRH - there is a roughness on the blog that is useful in that it curbs what HJ calls the saccharine. We really only intervene if it is bullying or personally insulting. Our long term contributors avoid that because they know the drill. They can still be acerbic which does not warrant intervention. I think the last one to get the boot for bullying was a loopy lawyer.Delete
Nobody yet has said you should not be writing for the blog and the first to do so will be told where to go. This is not a republican blog. It is a free inquiry blog. It features unionists, nationalists, republicans, evangelicals, atheists, whatever. John Coulter often banters with me it should get an award for its diversity!!
I don't think it is in the award winning category but while it continues, it will provide a platform for all manner of views and will protect its writers from gratuitous assault.