ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 30 YEARS AGO : SINN FÉIN REORGANISED.
"Sitting in Leinster House is not a revolutionary activity. Once you go in there, once you sign the roll of the House and accept the institutions of the state, once you accept their rulings, you will not be able to do it according to your rules. You will have to go according to their rules and they can stand up and gang up on you and put you out on the street and keep you out on the street. And those in Leinster House, who have done everything; the firing-squads, the prison cells, the internment camps, the hunger strikes; the lot, and weren't able to break this movement, that they can come and say 'At last, we have them towing the line, it took us 65 years, but they have come in from the cold, they have come in from the wilderness and we have them now.' Never! That is what I say to you. Never!" - Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, 2nd November 1986.
In an interview with 'The Irish News' newspaper on Thursday, July 17th, 1997, Gerry Adams stated that the aim of Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF) was to achieve "maximum constitutional change and a renegotiation of the union." And therein is the difference between Adams and his people and Irish republicans - the former will settle for 'a kind of peace' and financial security for themselves in a 'new' Westminster/Stormont-ordered Six-County 'state' while the latter continue to strive for real change outside of the present constitutional arrangements and an end - not a "renegotiation" - of "the union". It's a long and hard road, but one worth travelling!
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 48 YEARS AGO : THOSE SEEKING CRUMBS WERE BATONED AWAY FROM THE BRITISH TABLE.
'Derry Citizen's Action Committee' (DCAC) (formed only a few months earlier), which included Ivan Cooper (chairman), John Hume (deputy chairman), James Doherty, Claude Wilton and Paddy Doherty, set-out on a 'civil rights' protest march on the same route that a previous protest march was to be held on (on the 5th October),but which had been banned by the British 'authorities' in Stormont. Thousands of people joined in on the 2nd November protest march even though it, too, had been 'banned by the authorities'.
Those that organised the 'civil rights' protests were no doubt well-meaning individuals but their actions were interpreted by the British as a sign of weakness, in that those that Westminster had 'conquered' had come to accept themselves as a conquered people that desired only to be treated better 'by those in charge', and even that was asking too much. That mistake (ie asking 'the boss' to treat you better!) has been repeated and amplified since those days but 'the boss' has since learned to 'box clever' - if you fight against 'the boss' him/herself you are seen as a threat but if you're only looking to be treated better by that 'boss' you will be accommodated to a certain extent and will sometimes be accepted in the bosses circle as a 'house negro' rather than a 'field negro'. The former will be granted a position in 'the big house' whereas the latter will be considered as trouble-making outcasts to be condemned by those in 'the big house' and by those who aspire to be accepted into the master's parlour. But we sleep easier for it!
PROSE AND CONS.
Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.
First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O'Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.
PADDY'S ANGEL. (By David Lynch.)
Tiring wings, exhausting will
you need rest,
in this race of a life-time
you need to be your best.
Sense of direction diminishing
darkness has descended,
you land outside my window
feeling as though condemned.
Looking up without hearing or seeing
I ponder on its uncertainty,
It is I tell myself
rushing to turn out the light.
Easy now, I say, don't frighten it
reaching for a bowl,
water for starters - it must be parched
have I anything it might eat?
Quietly I climb onto the bed
peering through the glassless square,
you're huddled into the corner
trembling from cold and fear.
I reach to touch you
your head raises, eyes flickering,
my warm embrace will protect
swooping into the darkness you fly away.
I lie down in sorrow
disappointed at my helplessness for you,
about you I wonder,
maybe you're safe and warm?
I wonder why you landed here?
lots of other places to go?
many questions, few answers.
Lying here wondering - I become you.
(Next - 'Bird Watching In The Bog' , by David Lynch.)
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 66 YEARS AGO - DEATH OF A BRILLIANTLY CONFUSED IRISHMAN.
An enigma, I think, is the best way to describe 'GBS', who was born in Dublin on the 26th of July 1856, and was known to be a 'problem child' - he grew into what many of his contemporaries and, indeed, society at large, considered to be a 'problem adult'!
In relation to Irish politics, he supported 'Home Rule' within the British 'empire' ("...socialism can be brought about in a perfectly constitutional manner by democratic institutions.." [which might indeed be possible elsewhere, but the Leinster House institution is not a "democratic institution", as far as Irish republicans are concerned]) and constantly voiced opinion against Irish separatism (yet, at 90 years of age [in 1946] he refused an award from Westminster of an 'Order of Merit Honour') ; in 1916, at 60 years of age, he condemned "militant Irish nationalism" and accused those attempting to overthrow British misrule in Ireland as having 'learned nothing and forgot nothing' and again voiced his opinion that independence from England 'was impractical', although he did object to the British executions of the rebels that followed.
He supported Mussolini ("...the right kind of tyrant.."),spoke of his admiration for Stalin and Karl Marx, condemned all sides in the 'First World War', flirted with 'Fabianism' and 'Eugenics' and flirted occasionally with 'Flat Earthism/Zeteticism'! 'GBS' departed this Earth (flat or not!) on the 2nd November 1950 - 66 years ago on this date - at the grand age of 94. "Dying is a troublesome business," the man himself opined, " there is pain to be suffered, and it wrings one's heart ; but death is a splendid thing - a warfare accomplished, a beginning all over again, a triumph. You can always see that in their faces." And, in the opinion of this blogger, this world needs more 'faces' (and free-thinking attitudes) like that of 'GBS' today, even if I wouldn't agree with all of his political positions.
IF IT AIN'T WHITE...
By Alan Walsh.
From 'Magill' magazine, May 2002.
The 'Irish People's Party' identifies itself as new, and welcomes all donations. Rather than a simple manifesto, the 'IPP' has built an entire website of its own - www.irish peoplesparty.com (...that url won't now take you to the 'IPP' website, but that group are mentioned here) - largely composed of scans from tabloid newspapers concerning allegations of white slavery, refugee rape and bogus asylum claims. As of yet, they seem to have fallen short of the standard back-up rhetoric, or even any formal announcement of candidacy anywhere.
For the moment they merely state their aim as to stop what they identify as the immigration problem before it gets completely out of hand. At street level, a group called 'The Celtic Legion' holds regular meetings at venues around Dublin, as do the 'Dublin Hammer Skins' and 'Women For Aryan Unity' (WAU), the latter of which is a global organisation with branches throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Currently, the Irish branch of 'WAU' , in Dublin, acts as the headquarters for all of Europe.
Information regarding these units is mainly anecdotal, but in an atmosphere which has seen racially motivated violence claim its first murder here and swell to a large enough degree for the Garda to dedicate a new sector of statistics entirely to it, it would seem a rich harvest is in prospect for recruiters from these groups. (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 96 YEARS AGO : EXECUTED BY THE BRITISH FOR OBJECTING TO IMPERIALISM.
"The moral courage and sacrifice shown by James Daly and his comrades shines like a beacon light years after those momentous events in Jullander and Solon in India in June and July of 1920. The leadership shown by James Daly and Joe Hawes galvanised their comrades into striking a blow for the freedom of their own land. We also remember with pride the sacrifices of Peter Sears and Patrick Smythe who died at the hands of the British army during the mutiny and who are interred in Glasnevin cemetery..." - RSF President Des Dalton, 2010 : more here.
At that time, in Ireland, the Black and Tan War was at its height. Irishmen serving with the British Army in India mutinied in protest at the atrocities being committed in Ireland by the British. On June 27th, 1920, 350 Irishmen gave in their arms and refused to soldier for England. The mutiny was confined chiefly to members of 'B' and 'C' Companies, 1st Battalion, Connaught Ranger Regiment, stationed at Wellington Barracks, Jullunder, Punjab, India. The men at Jullunder were led by Private Joseph Hawes and their protest was joined two days later by a detachment of 'C' Company at the hill-station in Solon, under Private James Daly, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. On June 30th, 1920, following the deaths of Privates Patrick Smythe and Peter Sears in an attempt to capture the magazine at Solon, the mutiny ended. Seventy-five of the mutineers were arrested and taken to Lucknow where they were held until September when they were moved to Dayshai Prison to stand trial.
While awaiting trial, the prisoners were subjected to such harsh treatment by the British that it resulted in the death of one of the men, Private John Miranda, a native of Liverpool. At the subsequent general court-martial , fourteen of the prisoners were sentenced to death and the remainder to terms of imprisonment varying from ten to twenty years. In mid-October 1920, 13 of the fourteen death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment - the exception was Jim Daly, a native of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath. After six months, the mutineers were transferred to Portland Convict Prison in England, where they suffered long periods of solitary confinement and ill-treatment during their fight for political status. They were later moved to Maidstone Prison and, on January 3rd, 1923, the remaining sixty mutineers were released and returned to Ireland.
In October 1970, the remains of Daly, Smythe and Sears were brought back to Ireland : Smythe, a native of Drogheda, Co. Louth and Sears, from Neale, Co. Mayo, were buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. James Daly, who was executed in Jullunder in India on November 2nd, 1920 - 96 years ago on this date - was re-interred in his native Tyrellspass. These men and those like them are remembered and cherished by Irish republicans, as they should be.
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...
By Jim McCann (Jean's son). For Alex Crowe, RIP - "No Probablum". Glandore Publishing, 1999.
Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the 'Frank Cahill Resource Centre', one of the founders of 'Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh', the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A'Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.
His first publication last year by Glandore was 'And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh'. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!
On seeing no one around, Eddie Brophy inched his way to the canteen and went in. Immediately, we sprang into action ; four of us held the back door of the hut closed and fifteen of us came around to the front door. We opened it and fifteen seagulls were flung in and the door was held shut. Within seconds pandemonium broke out inside the place - between the seagulls squawking, the demented flapping of wings and poor Eddie screaming, the noise could have registered on the richter scale!
For five minutes all hell broke loose in the hut then, suddenly, an eerie silence descended. I myself was holding the door and couldn't see inside, but a couple of the boys were looking in the window and giving a commentary - "Jesus, look at the big one there. If it gets its beak into Brophy they're gonna have to shoot one of them..." "What's happening now?", asked one of the lads. "Broph has a chair and he's swinging it round his head," came the answer. "It's a murder picture in there. Dead seagulls all over the place.." "Let me out, ye bastards!" screamed Eddie at the front door.
At a given signal we all ran away from the doors of the hut, and the front door opened - Eddie emerged, covered with sweat, blood and feathers. "Yer all trying to fucking kill me," he screamed. "What happened, mate?", enquired Todler (the architect of the plan) - "Todler",Eddie replied, "them bastards have it in for me.."
"But why would the seagulls have it in for you, Eddie?", asked Todler... "Not the fucking seagulls, them bastards in that end hut.." shouted Eddie. The canteen staff came out of the end hut as if unaware of what had transpired in the canteen. "What happened to you, Broph?", asked Honky Wilson. "As if you didn't know", said Eddie... (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DATE (2ND NOVEMBER) 216 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF A LEINSTER HOUSE-TYPE POLITICIAN WHO WOULDN'T 'BUCK' THE SYSTEM.
He wrote in his memoirs about how the quiet life (!) "...did not suit my volatile disposition: in order therefore to vary the scene, I sent over to London for a female companion, with whom I had been intimate, and who immediately accepted the invitation. I had no motive whatever in giving her the preference but that she was an exotic. My inamorata was neither distinguished for wit or beauty; but I will do her the justice to say that she had none of that rapacity and extravagance so common of her profession. What I expended on her account was from my own free will and suggestion. I hired her a magnificent house, suitably furnished, and settled an allowance of five hundred a year on her; this was merely pro forma, for she cost me upwards of five thousand. At her house I kept my midnight orgies, and saw my friends, according to the fashionable acceptation of the word. But soon growing tired of this manner of living, I conceived the strange idea of performing, like Cook, a voyage around the world.." Well, to his credit, he seems to have realised that the world didn't actually 'voyage' around him.
He was elected as a member of the 'Irish House of Commons' for the Newcastle area of Dublin in 1785 (when he was only 19 years of age) but used his political position almost exclusively to promote himself within 'high society' and cared little for those he was supposed to be representing (carrying on in that same manner when, at 31 years of age, he bought his way in to politics again, this time as a 'representative' for Enniscorthy, Wexford) so much so that he was a 'guest' in a debtors' prison in London (from which he unsuccessfully attempted to escape!), claiming later that he had wasted a financial fortune of about £400,000 on 'the good life', stating that he never had "one hour's true happiness" during his spending spree!
During his second term as a political representative (!) he at first supported the then (1799) proposed 'Act of Union' and let it be known that he was amenable to vote against same if the price was right - and it was, apparently, as he voted against it in 1800! And someone, somewhere, 'voted' against him that same year (1800) - he died, on the 2nd of November, 216 years ago on this date, from rheumatic fever, t'was said, or then again, maybe, the rumour mill of the day got it right ; '...that he was stabbed in a fit of jealousy by two sisters to whom he was paying marked attentions at a time when each of them was in ignorance of his concealed attachment to the other. Sarah, or Sally Jenkinson, is stated to be the lady from whom he received his death wound..' That particular lady was said to have been won by 'The Buck' from the Prince of Wales in a wager!
Buck Whalley lacking much of cash
And being used to cut a dash
he wagered full ten thousand pound
He'd visit soon the Holy Ground
In Loftus's fine ship
He said he'd take a trip
And Costello so famed
The Captain then was named.'
He was buried in the Isle of Man and, having made a bet that he would be buried in Irish soil, he was determined to 'win' - he had imported enough Irish soil, and was buried in it, to ensure 'victory'! It would be nice to say that 'they don't make them like that anymore', but that's not the case - Leinster House is full of political chancers, for sale to the highest bidder.
Thanks for reading, Sharon.