9 February 2006 Edition
Irish Times new low
The Irish Times has recently condemned Mary McAleese for rejecting the assertion that the Easter 1916 Rising was ìan exclusive and sectarian enterpriseî. This is a new low for the paper that offered itís services to the British Government at the outbreak of the conflict in the Six Counties.
This dreary rag has a disgraceful record of journalism. Who can forget the infamous ìmothers of Bastardsî column by Kevin Myers or the deluded and racist ramblings of Mark Steyn.
It ill behoves this rag to lecture the Irish people on the Easter Rising. They should in fact apologise to the Irish people for offering their services to the crown and admit that all of their subsequent reportage on the conflict was inherently flawed.
This latest attempt to denigrate the Easter Rising as sectarian is reprehensible and flies in the face of the facts. It is the kind of rubbish we have come to expect emanating from the pseudo intellectual camp that deplores Irish nationalism but has no problem with British nationalism.
Although vocal, with prominent platforms at their disposal, these people do not represent the sentiment of most Irish people. It is one of the legacies of censorship that this micro group were so facilitated in putting forward their ludicrous arguments
Those days are over however and this pseudo discourse will be rejected and itís proponents exposed for the intellectual charlatans that they are.
As I write this it is estimated about a dozen people have been killed, embassies and buildings attacked or burnt out and boycotts of European companies threatened across the Middle East because of the decision of a Danish newspaper to publish offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. An Iranian newspaper has now announced its intention to publish cartoons dealing with the Holocaust. The confrontation is spirally out of control but at its heart is focussed on an issue that should be of concern to republicans, that of freedom of speech and freedom of expression.
I have seen the cartoons shown on the internet. They are neither particularly well done nor, in my opinion, a sensible thing for a newspaper to publish, but as someone who believes in the right to freedom of expression I support their right to publish cartoons. And while I would be disgusted by any newspaper, Iranian or not, publishing cartoons on the Holocaust, I defend their right to do so.
The right to free speech is under assault right across the world. In the US Christian fundamentalists and the Bush administration cracks down on any form of dissent as can be seen by the disgraceful treatment of Cindy Sheehan at the State of the Union address. Blair attempts, and happily fails, to force through legislation that would have restricted the right to free speech in the interests of preventing ëreligious hatredí. We have experience of State, religious and corporate censorship in Ireland, particularly of republicans or other minorities
Supporting the Danish newspaper does not make me anti-Islamic. Supporting the Iranian newspaperís disgusting idea to publish Holocaust cartoons does not make me anti-semitic. Both positions are simply supportive of the right to freedom of speech and expression.
Paisley and the President
The Reverend Paisley doesnít like the Irish President. Thatís hard to believe!
And he and Junior claim she is dishonest because she dared to compare unionist politicians to the Nazis because of their treatment of Catholics and their inoculation of the young with anti-Catholicism. ëWe will raise our children on a diet of Orange juice!í ó Paisleyís own words.
In the late 1930s Adolph Hitler defended his plans for taking over large tracts of Europe as necessary to build a greater German homeland for a German people. He didnít stop to consider that much of the land he coveted was already populated with many people who were not German at all.
For his part, Paisley is notorious for saying over and over that ëUlsterí would be a Protestant land for a Protestant people. He also doesnít seem to allow for the fact that nearly half the population of the statelet is not Protestant.
In spite of unionismís revisionism and collective amnesia, if something walks like a duck, acts like a duck and sounds like a duck then it is a duck. The Irish President was spot on in her assessment and no amount of DUP huffing and puffing can make it otherwise.
IMC versus IICD
The fact that the IMC, a prejudiced anti-republican ëbodyí, has gained more credence than the IICD, an independent commission set up under the Good Friday Agreement, has proved bewildering. Under General de Chastelain, accompanied by the eyes of two clergy from two dominant beliefs on the island of Ireland, the IRA fully decomissioned, categorically backed and witnessed by the aforementioned. However the IMC, with allegations of IRA criminality and intelligence gathering, has failed to substantiate its claims, which could prove deleterious to the Peace Process. The unionists should surely give the IICDís first hand evidence precedence over the IMCís unfounded hearsay ëbullshití.