A Very Irish Hypocrisy
What do people believe? I have been following the Maria Cahill story like so many other people but I have been more fascinated by the people who support and vote Sinn Fein. As an old loyalist I can understand (but oppose) the IRA stance of fighting to get the ‘Brits’ (that includes me and my family) out of N.Ireland. I have studied how historically violence has been used to achieve political aims. It produced the Irish Republic, the State of Israel. It drove the French out of Algeria and defeated the Argies on the Falklands. Violence drove the British out of America. Violence took the land from the Native American Indians. And as an ex prisoner, I understand the Republican ‘hunger strikes’. It was an amazing testament to the belief and ideals of those Republican prisoners. There was principle and sacrifice. Even if they were on the opposite side to me.
But more importantly I understand the need and principles for defending woman and children from sexual predators. Forget for a moment politics and dogmas and culture. Before I explain my puzzlement, I clearly note that there are predators everywhere. In ‘Prod’ districts, in the middle classes, in ethnic minority groups, in the security forces, etc. Even famous T.V. celebrities from the ‘70s. Prods have only to look at the examples of Margaret Wright (1994) and Ann Ogilby (1974) and know that not all the monsters are in Republican districts. But during the madness of the ‘70s Catholic/nationalist victims of sexual assault could not go to the RUC because of the prevailing feelings and attitudes within their community. A young woman or child from say ‘Andytown’ would be in the horrible position of not being allowed to go to the police and perhaps the police would not exactly be overzealous in wishing to help them. It fell upon the Republicans, ‘the Provos’, to do something. I am sure they took some men out and beat them, kneecapped or whatever. But where it all falls down is when the Provos protect themselves and leave their victims without any meaningful recourse. Totally defenceless. Is it not somewhat ironic, that after the all the years that Sinn Fein have criticising the RUC and Army about protecting themselves, withholding information, dragging feet, being obstructive, twisting the truth, etc., that they themselves have been doing exactly the same thing. A very Irish hypocrisy.
But what of the electorate, the ordinary Nationalist person in the Republican stronghold? Or the Irish Republic? The ability to turn a blind eye, to turn logic on its head? Do Sinn Fein voters say; my political loyalty overrides disgraceful actions against my own people? I can live with that? Ask yourself if you recall in the ‘70s or ‘80s a newspaper headline; ‘Provos claim they have buried a tout? They didn’t ‘fess’ up until they were pushed. Their leader still denies that he was a member of the Provos which still beggars’ belief. Maybe his jaunt over to Downing Street in 1973 was an administrative error? It’s still an insult to all who know the truth. Maybe Gusty wasn’t really in the UVF?
Do people know how many punishment shootings the Provos carried out on their own members for alleged sexual offences? Let’s face it, a person is shot in both knees, the police ask; what was this is for? Can you imagine someone saying; ‘I raped that woman’? I suspect the standard answer is; I don’t know why. And would the police chase down this kneecapping; one of thousands? Unlikely.
So, as I see it, thousands of Nationalists will put their vote to Sinn Fein when the opportunity arises and turn a blind eye to all this “propaganda”. But what does it mean for other non-Sinn Fein Nationalists and Protestants? I have met many Nationalists and Republican ex-prisoners. They are as decent and straight a people as you could meet. Same with Loyalists, Security Forces, etc. Good and bad everywhere. But if Sinn Fein got into power in the Republic then that population can expect this type of behaviour to continue. Shinners always right; everyone else wrong.
The right to criticise them will be severely curtailed if not extinguished. For Loyalist and Protestants in the north the idea of Sinn Fein in power in a United Ireland is truly frightening. If they can excuse some of their own brutalising of their own community in a sexual way then what can the rest of us expect? Anything British will be slowly expunged. People will be forced to leave the country. Killings would start again (Look to the precedents in history). Any wrong that Sinn Fein would do could be explained or lied away. ‘It’s the Brits fault’. This monster in power would assume totalitarian and dictatorial proportions. Any criticism from non-Sinn Fein Nationalist or British would be snuffed out. If Sinn Fein can’t be honest to nationalist victims about its own predator members how would it be honest and fair to anyone who wasn’t of their way of thinking?
The last point about the electoral blindness concerns Germany in 1930. The Federal election saw the rise of Hitler’s party to second place in the Reichstag. There was much wrong about that land in those days and the woes are well recorded elsewhere. But on the back of rhetoric, on the back of fears about Communism, on the back of the promise to give jobs to all, the people started voting in mass for this party with disastrous consequences. But even at that time the electorate had been ignoring uncomfortable truths. Turning a blind eye didn’t help anyone and created a monster that took the world to the brink of hell. Could the blind-eye electorate do the same for the people of Ireland?
“If you shut up truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow,
and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts
through it will blow up everything in its way.” Emile Zola.