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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

Now that the Dirty War cat is well and truly out of the bag, what does our Irish intelligentsia have to say?

From the birth of the civil rights movement in around 1967/68, through to the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, Irish intellectuals almost to a man (and they are mostly men) sided with the British in denouncing as “terrorists” or “fellow IRA travellers” those who supported the use of force and violent protest to oppose British rule in Ireland. It bears repeating that those hundreds of thousands of Irish people who found themselves trapped within an artificial construct that we might call “British Ulster” (Northern Ireland) did not even have full voting or housing rights as recently as 1968.

In common with the pro British minority in the Six Counties, Irish intellectuals have never liked comparisons between “Northern Ireland” and the Apartheid regime in South Africa, or say the Palestinians. To put it bluntly, having to accept this comparison would mean their having to denounce the British and therefore lose whatever pittance of cachet they had gathered in London media and literary circles. Unfortunately for these apologists for colonialism however, movements like the ANC and great leaders like Nelson Mandela himself made a direct link between Apartheid his country and the situation in Ireland. Nor was this simply a question of expressions of mutual solidarity, as An Sionnach Fionn has pointed out here -
the now deceased ANC minister Kader Asmal describes in his memoir Politics in my Blood how Umkhonto we Sizwe (or “MK”, the military wing of the ANC) turned to the IRA for military and logistical support.

If all that is not bad enough for our intelligentsia, they now have to struggle with the fact that Britain’s Dirty War has been well and truly exposed following Anne Cadwallader’s book Lethal Allies and last night's BBC Panorama programme, which revealed how plain clothes MRF units gunned down unarmed civilians in Belfast. All these startling revelations follow on from my own (out of print) book A Very British Jihad, which Easons initially refused to stock.

Right throughout the Troubles, the likes of Fintan O’Toole, Colm Tóibín, John Banville, John A Murphy, Roy Foster (the list is endless) regularly vented their spleens against the risen people in the North whose struggle has now been acknowledged as just by no less than the Queen of England herself in that famous handshake with the Provisional IRA’s former Chief of Staff - Martin McGuinness.

My question now is this –

What do those same intellectuals have to say about a British regime that, in the very period when they were "backing Britain", placed a mass murder machine into the hands of the most viciously sectarian elements of the minority British community in the North?

So far, their silence has been deafening.

@Paul Larkin
Gaoth Dobhair
Mí na Samhna 2013
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Title: Now that the Dirty War cat is well and truly out of the bag, what does our Irish intelligentsia have to say?
Date posted: 22 Nov '13 - 11:20
Filed under: General
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