Monday, February 27, 2006


Monday Madness - Should I feel guilty?

Disgraceful scenes Sticking with the big story in Ireland right now, I'd like to give my thoughts on what I perceive to be outrageous and despicable efforts to shift the blame for Saturday's disgraceful riots onto the ordinary people of Ireland.

As if we are in some way supposed to feel guilty for what a minority of utter scumbags did to our city's capital.

Take for example these stupid comments from Eoghan Harris in the Irish Independent (hat tip Slugger). Let me analyse some of Mr Harris' comments because, as we say here in Dublin, Mr Harris is talking out of his arse:

"WE have disgraced ourselves again. And I do mean we. We cannot pretend the tribal thugs who attacked the Protestant march came from another planet. We share too many of their sectarian attitudes to allow us off the hook. In the words of Alexander Herzen about the Russian anarchists: "they are the syphilis of our passions.""

Bullshit. On Saturday I had a lie-in and then watched a bit of rugby on television. I then proceeded to write about my outrage at seeing MY city torn apart and seeing MY country's officers, as well as journalists, get injured by these thugs. In what way did I disgrace myself?

"Do you doubt we share the same tribal passions as the lumpen republicans who used iron railings to rip into the marchers?"

You can be bloody sure I doubt it! I think it's fair to say the vast majority of Irish people have no desire to use 'railings to rip into marchers'.

"From day one, the President, the Taoiseach and senior figures from both the main Christian churches should have been infusing the public with a noble vision of the Irish Republic as a place which would cherish all the children of the nation equally. Instead, the response of the political class ranged from indifference to inflammatory interventions."

I don't need anyone to 'infuse' me with any visions of my country. I'm well able to make my own mind up on that thanks, as are the majority of Irish people. 'Inflammatory interventions', Mr Harris? I must have missed those. It appeared to me that most people were treating this with complete apathy the way they treated the 'Make Partition History' parade from Sinn Féin and I didn't see the media moaning about that.

"Far from the Taoiseach and his ministers making firm calls for calm and tolerance, they stayed largely silent on the symbolic importance of the march passing off peacefully. Past comparisons of Protestants and Nazis made by President McAleese and Fr Alec Reid - and widely reported by the tabloids - have not helped to cool the tribal temperature."

More nonsense. Mr Harris do you really think those who attacked Irish officers and journalists did so because the President and Father Reid had whipped them into a frenzy? How many of those rioters are even aware of current events?

"On Saturday morning, only a few hours before the march started, Newstalk was carrying competitions for jokes about "why the Orangeman crossed the road". This was followed by a five-second clip from Damien Kiberd's lunchtime show in which he mockingly asked if they were going to play 'Kick the Pope' music? In the absence of any pluralist programmes putting the point of view of the Protestant marchers, are we asked to believe that this did not create a sour climate?"

Is this guy for real? A 'sour climate'? It's hardly the work of Joseph Goebbels, is it? This to me simply reflects the total apathy with which the majority of Dubliners were going to greet the parade. It was seen as a bit silly and a bit of a joke - like most parades which take place. Besides, the Irish are probably joked about more than any other nation on this planet. Grow up, Harris.

"Any public inquiry into the attack on the march - and there should be an inquiry - should pay close attention to the tribal role played by Newstalk 106 in relation to its Dublin working-class audience. The buck for this brand of brutalist broadcasting stops with Damien Kiberd, the news editor of Newstalk who writes a column in the republican Daily Ireland.

"The Broadcasting Commission, if it has the guts of a mouse, should listen to the tapes of Newstalk 106 over the past two weeks, ask experts to evaluate their effect on an ill-educated section of the public and consider whether Newstalk 106 should be allowed to spread their atavistic views to a national audience."

This is farcical stuff. I can only assume that Mr Harris has some sort of personal beef with Damien Kilberd judging by his ridiculous suggestion that a radio show - which I must admit I never listen to - is responsible for calling people out to destroy O'Connell Street!

"Meantime, we can forget about doing a deal with Northern Protestants. We might go on pretending to be tolerant. But the blood on the streets of Dublin tells another story."

Oh give over, Harris. I find it hard to believe that 'Northern Protestants' will blame this as a failure of the Republic. Indeed many of those involved were dissidents from the North and even the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson, to be fair to him, was unwilling to lay the blame for Saturday's violence upon the Irish Republic:

"We have received a warm welcome from ordinary Dubliners.

"But it’s clear these republicans have come from north of the border and other areas intent only on causing trouble."

I get the distinct impression however that certain people want me and the rest of the Irish people to feel guilty about what happened on Saturday. As if those thugs are in some way representative of me and the majority of peaceful people. Well I will not stand by and be tarred with those animals just because people like Eoghan Harris see the world in a very simplistic black and white fashion.

Not in my name!
I don't support this

It seems to me that the anti-Irish lobby within the media are seeking to exploit Saturday's events for their own ends. I don't think the majority of decent-minded unionists will call me and people like me a disgrace due to the actions of a minority of criminals.

After all, when violence occurs in the North due to the Orange Order or dissident Republicans causing trouble, down here we don't label all people in the North as troublemakers.

No, the people who will seek to exploit this event will be the revisionists here in the Republic. Mark my words.

The events of Saturday have made a controversial year even more difficult. This is the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising and a military parade is set to take place in O'Connell Street in April making the Rising.

I await the inevitable rubbish from certain elements in the media who will attempt to use Saturday's violence as an excuse to call off the 1916 celebrations altogether on the grounds of 'public safety'.

The reality of course is that people like Eoghan Harris have a guilt complex with Irishness in general.

I personally abhor the scenes which occurred on Saturday. Why the hell should I feel guilty or ashamed? It was MY city the thugs tore up, it was MY country's officers that they went and attacked, it was MY country's flag that they went and defiled.

The people of Dublin, and I'm sure the Republic in general, are as outraged over this as anybody!

Mr Harris, if you wish to go on a guilt trip over the actions of a minority go right ahead, but you can leave me and and the majority of Irish people out of it.

Such a guilt trip will be a solo journey I assure you.


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