If “Prince Charles” was at my front door, I would not go out and meet him. I dont think I can be more clear that I am not a big fan of the English “Royal Family” or Monarchy in general. There is nothing quite as irritating as a “Royal Visit” and no doubt the Brown Thomas has been doing a roaring trade as every West Briton in Dublin 4 over-spends on the credit card to look really good fawning over Charlie and Camilla.
Conflict Resolution! What crimes are committed in thy name!!
That handshake today with Gerry Adams is an odd thing. Charlie seemed to enjoy it less than Adams. Gerry needed that handshake. A further step to Establishment respectability.
Much is made of the fact that Charlie is Commander-in-Chief of the notorious Parachute Regiment, infamously involved in The Ballymurphy Massacre and Bloody Sunday (to name but two epoisodes). There is a degree of pageantry involved but Charlie takes the role seriously.
As I have said in other posts…the Ballymurphy Massacre was one event which shaped who I am today. What I saw, what I heard…and even what I did, will stay with me until the day I die.
Injustices like Ballymurphy, McGurks, Bloody Sunday, Springhill Massacre….all led me in a certain direction. The Claudy Massacre and Bloody Friday led me back from where I was going. Of course there were events before (the Falls Curfew and the Battle of St Matthews in 1970) and after (the Miami Massacre, Kingsmills, Shankill Butchers)….but for me that year 1971/72 was what really formed me.
We now know the truth of Bloody Sunday and McGurks. Justice was delayed and maybe even denied. But I lived in the Greater Ballymurphy area and thats the one that haunts me. Thats the one where I feared the most. Thats the one where I HATED the most.
I was not brought up to HATE…and thats what I hate the Conflict for doing. It made me …HATE.
The Ballymurphy Massacre needs to be dealt with. Dealing with Bloody Sunday and McGurks and leaving this event aside is a travesty. Yes, there is a nod and a wink that Ballymurphy was one of those things like La Mon (an attrocity committed by IRA) or the Dublin-Monaghan Bombs (Loyalist Glenanne Gang with British Intelligence) or Jean McConville or indeed Omagh Bomb, where it is better to draw a veil.
We have moved to Reconciliation. But without addressing Justice.
Thus Charlie (on behalf of the British State) can dutifully shake hands with Gerry Adams. Thus Gerry Adams can enthusiastically shake hands with Charlie. It is deemed a matter of State and/or Politics.
I am not entirely sure that Charlie (on behalf of the British State) has a right to reconcile with Adams without facing the truth and reconciling with (say) the victims in Ballymurphy. Likewise Adams has no right to reconcile with Charlie without facing up to other truths.
Neither act for me.
Hypocrisy is the order of the day.
If Charlie as expected goes to Mullaghmore in County Sligo to visit the spot where his uncle “Earl Mountbatten of Burma was killed in an IRA bomb in 1979….then he might do well to remember that his uncle (an unlovely old imperialist bastard) was unforgiving of the Japanese. In 1971, he dodged a State Banquet for Hirohito in London (yes he did meet him privately later).
And Gerry Adams might do well to remember that his successor as MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey was showing “support” for the Ballymurphy victims at a protest today. Sinn Féin (and the British) can certainly “do” Hypocrisy very well.
When the Queen visited Ireland in 2012 (?) Gerry Adams protested against it. What has changed since then? Has Gerry Adams explained why they changed their position?
It is incremental.
Sinn Féin inevitably come round to support positions they previously opposed.
Thats really how they have operated since the mid 1990s.
They get votes thru protest…see off the Opposition and then adopt the position they initially opposed…when its electorally safe to so do.
There cant be much doubt that at some point they will be taking an oath of allegiance and sitting in Westminster.
Will be interesting when the 1970/80s men leave the stage.
Gerry Adams must now be in his late 60s.
He will be 67 later this year.
I think that SF are at the point where Fianna Fáil were in the 1930s.
They would basically be the party of government until Jack Lynch and Charlie Haughey.
Certainly IRA men like Lemass and Aitken were active politicians in the 1960s but there were younger men, O’Malley, Lynch etc who had no direct involvement in the 1916-1926 period.
Of course they all go off to pay tribute to Liam Lynch etc but it was tokenism …and I suspect that a lot of younger SF people have no ddirect connexion to the 1970s but they obviously have to be seen at commemorations for Loughgall or whatever.
But most of the 1970s men are happy enough to sit around the Felons Club and spoof about each other being comrades in Long Kesh and dutifully turning out when SF needs them.
I dont know if you are familiar with the Falls Road in Belfast….but The Felons Club and An Cultúrlann are about one mile apart and probably representative of two strands of Sinn Féin….if SF can keep the patrons in both places happy …at the same time….thats all they need to do.