It is ironic that I am still drafting a post on Anti Semitism and the Labour Party. It s possible to “do nuance” in a longish blog, an essay, a dissertation and a book. Nuance is not possible in Twitter. All you get is 140 characters . Twitter is a form ofgraffiti.
What happened last night?
Seemingly, Gerry Adams was watching “Django-Unchained” a movie about Slavery in the United States. And he reaches for his ipad to tweet …in very blunt terms…that the experience was same as the Catholic experience in Ballymurphy, a Belfast housing estate built in early 1950s.
Gerry Adams lived in Ballymurphy. So did I (from 1970 to 1979). He and I both know that despite the problems pre-dating the Troubles….and despite incidents like the Ballymurphy Massacre (August 1971) ….Ballymurphy was NOT Birmingham, Alabama. Lets get that clear.
You have seen the tweet and its follow up which suggests that Gerry Adams and his army of Twitter followers saw no problem with it. No point in reproducing it in this post…once was enough….but it was deleted some twenty minutes after it as first posted. Understandably it caused outrage and anger.
How can people react to this? Well most nationalists, including ordinary decent Sinn Féin members and supporters will be as outraged as I am. There are perhaps two alternative reactions….some SF supporters might brazen it out “Gerry saying it as it is” and actually agreeing with him. Some might see a context and try to spin out the nuance.
But really the point is if you can say something in 140 characters on Twitter and you have to make a speech to defend it, then you should not have said it in the first place.
Therefore the Sinn Fëin spinners are having a bad day. Either they say “the Party Leader was absolutely right” OR they say “well lets put this in context”. Neither works.
Gerry Adams has issued a non-apology….IF anyone was offended, he is sorry. Its the mode of apology in the 21st century putting an onus on those offended rather than Gerry Adams.
This is post-Long Kesh Gerry Adams who his supporters liken to a post Robin Island Nelson Mandela.It is a comparison that Adams likes. Gerry Adams is no Nelson Mandela. Gerry Adams is no Rosa Parks. To some extent, we have had to listen to the bombast. But he condemns himself when he pressed the “send” button and further condemns himself by blandly telling us he was a founding member of the Civil Rights Association.
Perhaps “Django Unchained” was a bad choice for late night viewing. Maybe a relaxing Disney movie….”Pinnochio” perhaps.