23 August 2007 Edition
Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, 200 focal ar a méid. Déantar giorrú ar litreachta más gá. Cuir do litir chuig [email protected]
An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please
British army violence — It’s all in the imagination!
I almost choked on my crunchy nut corn flakes when I read the letter last week (16 August) from ‘Seán, USA’, not because it was critical of republicanism – bring it on, Seán – but because it was so facile.
Pleading for the ‘poor British peace keepers’, Seán reveals that the conflict in Ireland has been based on “unreasoning hatred that goes back to imagined sleights hundreds of years old”. Really?
So the Famine, the Plantation, partition and the creation of a gerrymandered state on a sectarian head-count, unionist one-party rule, institutionalised discrimination, suppression of the Civil Rights Movement, British Army counter-insurgency and its UDA/UVF death squads, etc, are all “imagined sleights”.
His ignorance is reinforced by his claim that British soldiers would have preferred supping pints back in Blighty to ‘trying to keep the peace’. No they wouldn’t have. Some might; most wouldn’t.
After 1969 – until the Falklands and Gulf wars – the Six Counties was the only theatre that British soldiers could expect to see ‘action’ in. And many of them loved it. I know because two school friends in England who joined the Royal Marines and the Royal Green Jackets knew what they were getting into as I spoke to them about serving in Belfast and Derry – and they were gagging for it. They wanted to do some soldiering: they wanted to shoot people, not keep the peace.
And if Seán’s imagined peace lovers really wanted to stay at home, they could have done so. Unlike Vietnam, there was no conscription, no draft, and everyone knew full well there was a war on in Ireland. No one had to join the British Army, and when they did, they could always have left.
By all means criticise Irish republicans, ‘Seán USA’, we can take it, but let’s have rational debates rather than reactionary rants.
Regarding last week’s letter from ‘Séan, USA’. Firstly, he cannot be reading your paper long if he thinks you “brush aside” deaths caused by the UDA. He said soldiers did not want to be here but the Brits did not have conscription. They didn’t have to be here. The situation was created by the invasion and plantation of Ireland by the English and their role is and always was to maintain their occupation while republicans want to end it and introduce for the first time in centuries, proper democracy to the island.
He said the army shot back at those shooting at them but international experts under Kadir Asmal found that the IRA killed the lowest percentage of uninvolved civilians and the British army killed far more. Many of the IRA members who were killed by the Brits were unarmed, some after capture.
As for “gun runners and murderers”, the British have engaged in both and facilitated the murder by loyalists of hundreds of civilians.
As for coverage of IRA killings, he can read the rantings of just about all other media in Ireland, Britain and further afield. An Phoblacht’s role is to counteract such propaganda but Séan is not interested is hearing both sides.
If An Phoblacht was as one-sided as Séan says why did they print his letter?
Troops Out Movement send thanks and solidarity
On behalf of the Troops Out Movement, I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the people and organisations that met us in Belfast recently on our 31st annual delegation to the Six Counties.
This year’s delegation met with Relatives for Justice on the 1971 Ballymurphy internment killings, An Fhirinne on the issue of collusion, the Springfield Residents’ Association on policing and Orange marches and Sinn Féin Councillors Michael Browne, Tom Hartley and Fra McCann on the current political situation and trade unionism. We thank them all for the wealth of information they provided and for answering even the most searching of questions.
We would also like to thank An Culturlann for allowing us to have a stall in the foyer on our arrival day and the Falls Women’s Centre, Gort na Mona, the Felons Club and the Andersonstown Social Club for welcoming us to their social events.
Our admiration goes to the Féile organisers who left us spoilt for choice as to which events to attend and also to the organisers and participants in the March for Truth. Not only were the numbers attending the march impressive but the visual creativity was inspiring.
Special thanks must go to the people who accommodated our delegates and to Relatives for Justice who allowed us to use their premises for our meetings
Our gratitude will be shown in the work we do in England, Scotland and Wales to show people over here that Britain has no right in Ireland and that the only way to a just and lasting peace is for the people of the whole of Ireland to determine their own future.
Troops Out Movement