Thursday, October 13, 2005


Unionism, Nazis and so forth...

I suppose I should give my thoughts on the latest furore over the remarks made by Father Alec Reid, the priest who witnessed the IRA's decommissioning, who compared the unionist community to Nazis for past treatment of Catholics.

Father Alec Reid's remarks were made at a public meeting in south Belfast also attended by Reverend Harold Good, the Protestant decommissioning witness.

Here is what Father Reid said:

"The reality is that the nationalist community in Northern Ireland were treated almost like animals by the unionist community. They were not treated like human beings. It was like the Nazis treatment of the Jews."

My take on that? A perfectly reasonable statement. Bigotry is bigotry. What's with all this bullshit that unionists are coming out with about how some bigotry is worse than other bigotry? Anti-Catholic attitudes are just as bad as anti-Semitic attitudes. I have the guts to accept that the Irish Free State treated protestants poorly in the Twenties so why can't unionists admit that Catholics were indeed 'treated almost like animals' in the sixties by the Northern Ireland State? Father Reid has since apologised for his remarks saying he lost his temper. Fair enough, although I wouldn't have apologised myself. But it's not over...

UI readers know I just love to sift through the bullshit of Irish politics so permit me to do just that by analysing some of the laughable comments made on this non-issue. First up, son of Dr Evil and chip off the old block, Ian Paisley Junior:

"He's apologised, but he's explaining away the reasons why he made those comments."

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA! The bullshit-ometer is going haywire! Let's have a look at some of the comments made by Ian Paisley Senior over the years, shall we?:

"This Romish man of sin is now in Hell!" to a packed Ulster Hall after the death of John XXIII in June 1963.

"I will kill all who get in my way", which was shouted out at certain reporters following a loyalist rally in 1968.

After a loyalist rally in 1968, Ian Paisley justified the burning of Catholic homes by claiming: "Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners"; he also said the massive discrimination in employment and allocation of public housing for Catholics existed because "they breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin".

"The Provisional IRA is the military wing of the Roman Catholic Church."

"Ulster Resistance is not for the faint or half hearted and we will use all means which are deemed necessary to defeat the Agreement." (Ulster Resistance rally, Belfast, November 1986)

Now I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Ian Paisley Senior has NEVER APOLOGISED for these disgraceful comments!

Be very careful standing on the moral high ground Ian Paisley Junior. You might get a nosebleed.

Next up, the DUP's Nigel 'I never smile' Dodds who, again, sends our bullshit-ometer into overdrive:

"The remarks by Alec Reid are appalling and reveal a mindset which could be portrayed as deeply bigoted and fundamentally racist."

Hmm. Are these sentiments shared by your party leader, the Rev Ian Paisley I wonder? Is he 'deeply bigoted'? What do you think, Nigel? And how are the comments 'racist'? How did the 'R' word come into this? Skin colour wasn't mentioned at all! The comments are about as racist as they are misogynist!

I'm sure you're all incredibly interested in what Reg 'I still matter honest!' Empey had to say:

"It destroys confidence because how can the word of somebody using that sort of language be taken seriously."

Oh now decommissioning can't be taken seriously! Gee, I never saw that comment coming! Let's see Reg, you ask 'how can the word of somebody using that language be taken seriously'. I'm guessing in the same way that the word of someone like Ian Paisley has to be taken seriously. Nothing to say about the language he has used in the past, Reg? Of course you don't. We wouldn't want to destroy the confidence you have in your hypocritical position!

Lastly, let's look at the comments made by Willie Frazer of the victims' group Fair who walked out of Wednesday's meeting in protest:

"I did fly off the handle but I could not sit there and allow him to accuse the unionist people of persecuting the Roman Catholic community for the last 60 years. That is far from the truth." it's not far from the truth it's actually spot on! I suppose the civil rights campaign by Catholics was just a nasty Fenian effort to attain a United Ireland, eh? Issues like gerrymandering never occurred, right?

It seems to me that the reason so many unionists are so incensed by Father Reid's remarks is that they have hit a nerve! The truth hurts! Sadly, we can't run away from our past and if we fail to confront it, it will consume us all.

Sometimes moving on is difficult, but that's not an argument for us to bury our heads in the sand and live in a permanent state of denial.

As it relates to this island, 'Don't mention the war!' is not an adequate solution by any means.


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