This week has witnessed the emergence of yet another
'republican' group ready to mutilate its way to
the Balsamic Republic of Ireland where the only
freedom attained will be as sweet as vinegar.
In countries like Saudi Arabia, it is your hand
that is likely to be cut off. Under the Continuity
Lenny Murphy gang facial amputation seems the
order of the day.
abound as to what group was responsible for the
brutal slaughter of Joe Jones and Ed Burns in
separate parts of Belfast last weekend. Since
the implosion of the Provisional IRA as a serious
fighting force there has been no shortage of groups
willing to step into the breech and fill it with
absolutely nothing. At the start of the week the
word doing the rounds was that the Continuity
IRA bore responsibility. Since then the 'Contos',
as they are colloquially referred to, have faded
from the usual suspects line up and have been
replaced by an even more obscure body called something
that I can not even remember the name of. Seemingly
a drink fuelled internal dispute among its members
led to an orgy of murder that spanned the city.
killers of Ed Burns and Joe Jones, if arrested
and jailed, may appeal to people to give up their
Saturday lunchtime to stand in the middle of one
of the North's many roads and proclaim them political
prisoners. They are as political in motivation
as the killers of Robert McCartney. If ever the
uniform of the criminal was made to measure it
was surely for them that it was specifically cut.
the cardboard commandoes skulking under the name
republican hope to achieve defies rigorous intellectual
investigation. They cannot pretend to be engaged
in any liberation struggle. So unpopular are they
that the PSNI has much more support in nationalist
communities than any of the sect-like groups that
continue to dabble in guns. There is no longer
a war being waged in this country. The only groups
to have fought a war, the Provisional IRA and
the INLA, have long since ceased fighting it.
If the remaining groups and gangs that possess
arms, and in some instances spades, were to announce
a ceasefire tomorrow would anybody really know?
Would British soldiers or police officers feel
any safer the day after the ceasefire was announced?
They simply would not notice the difference.
if it is accepted that the best of those who remain
in armed groups are not thugs and gangsters but
people who subscribe to physical force republicanism
with its long tradition of armed resistance, this
is no reason to wax benign towards their mind
numbing lack of strategic intellect or their determination
to inflict physical force on a public uniformly
hostile to its application.
tradition of physical force republicanism has
become a blight that has potential only to destroy
the lives of its practitioners and of those who
get in the way of its incompetence. It cannot
shift the British one iota or make the slightest
political change. Its adherents subscribe to a
curious logic which some of them at least have
the wit to appreciate makes no sense to anybody
other than the true believer. The irrational fetishising
of physical force leads to unthinking gratuitous
violence carried out in the name of Ireland by
people wholly impervious to what anybody else
in Ireland actually thinks. Physical force of
the few sits in stark opposition to republicanism
of the many. Republicanism was designed to give
the people sovereignty over the absolutism of
the gun, not the other way round.
with airs, gun worship, bullying, the pseudo culture
of respect should all be deprived of whatever
cover they assume and be left in no doubt about
the contempt the whole gamut of nefarious activity
is held in. The 'do you know who I am? ' gangs
should be granted their wish and accordingly be
made known to everybody so that they may have
no hiding place. Afford the butchers that stalk
our streets masquerading as republican volunteers
the slightest modicum of political recognition
and the unbridgeable chasm between Tom McElwee
or Michael Devine and the slayers of Ed Burns
and Joe Jones starts to become blurred. The volunteers
who died to proclaim the political validity of
their armed actions should remain upon a coveted
pantheon never to be placed side by side with
the new 'comrades' of the CLM. The latter are
lice in the locks of republicanism. Let their
hall of fame be society's gutter.