The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Padraic Paisley


Anthony McIntyre • 5 December 2004

Last week we took two American friends who stopped overnight with us to see some of the political artistry that adorns the gable walls of the area in which we live. The community here suffered greatly for its resistance to the British state. The walls pictorially narrate something of its experience. Their powerfully evocative imagery always holds an attraction for visitors, who never cease to marvel at the dexterity of the artists. Last week, same as this week, such was the talk of the deal of all deals being struck between the DUP theocrat and the Sinn Fein autocrat, that I suggested to our New York friends that they should not be surprised if we come across a mural of Connolly, Pearse and Paisley. Those who would see nothing untoward about it would be the same people who still believe that decommissioning never took place, and who would happily assemble at Dunville Park for the 3 o'clock spacecraft to take them to a united Ireland simply because it had been advertised in the local party front-paper.

Once the murals had been photographed - thankfully, none of which were of Padraic Paisley or Peadar Mac Robin - our loquacious and exceptionally witty taxi driver sped us over to Milltown Cemetery and the burial place of IRA volunteers. At the grave of Bobby Sands our three-year-old daughter skipped and laughed. She had only recently been told the story of 'Brave Bobby Sands, the wicked witch Maggie Thatcher and the H-Blocks.' No matter how much I dress it up she insists it is a 'terrible story' and demands to be told Dora The Explorer instead. Nevertheless, she advocates that we should get a rope and 'pull poor Bobby out from the bury hole.' In response to her toddler-style graveside laughter, my wife reminded me of Bobby's revenge being the laughter of our children. His place of rest seemed a fitting spot for F�rinne to be laughing, in some small way unintentionally providing the only revenge he achieved.

For this reason, my daughter's laughter offered but small consolation. Standing at the grave and thinking back over the terrible suffering that Bobby endured before his comrades placed him in the clay one dank, dismal Thursday afternoon, I gritted my teeth at the sheer futility of the sacrifices made by the men and women lying beneath our feet. They gave up everything they had, every last shred of a personal future in the belief that others would be rewarded with a victory over the British state in Ireland. They fought and died for a free Ireland and now their leaders discuss giving them free Presbyterianism.

When we took part in the Adams war we did so with a view to getting the British out. We deluded ourselves that we were fighting for Ireland when all we were doing was fighting for Adams. He became the author of our meaning, distorting it into a wholly fictionalised account. He succeeded so well because most of us preferred belief to reason; our involvement was reduced to a question of faith, defined by Nietzsche as ‘not wanting to know what is true.’ Were I to have suggested a course of action during my H-Block days that would lead republicanism to where it is today I would have found myself residing in a loyalist wing.

None of us know what way the republican dead, had they survived, would have viewed events of today. We do know, however, were they not beneath the damp clay of Milltown, they would be allowed no input into decision making. That is the prerogative of a small leadership clique. IRA volunteers empowered the clique so that it in turn could disempower them. Defrauded of any rightful return on the investment they made in terms of emotional energy, personal liberty and lives, their reward is one of deception and lies, not to mention marginalisation if they opt not to nod their heads obediently every time they are fed some rubbish by the leadership lie machine. They are allowed to mould strategy and objectives the same way that a cow shapes the journey of the train it watches from a field. They can give freely of their lives for the cause but not of their opinions. They would be hounded if they publicly spoke out against a process that is leading to an outcome which would leave the North being compared with Iran. Courtesy of Sinn Fein, a western European state or statelet - supposedly situated in the intellectual tradition of the Enlightenment - faces the prospect that a theocratic fundamentalist may at some point lead it.

Paisley has told the world of his plans to humiliate the current IRA. Its volunteers must publicly wear sackcloth and ashes to sate his vengeful urges. When we were told the same thing in 1976 the first blanket man Kieran Nugent defied the British. He threw down the gauntlet; challenging them that if they wanted him to wear the sackcloth called 'prison uniform' they would have to nail it to his back. He emerged from the prison three years later with scars on his back but no sackcloth. He was a volunteer in an undefeated IRA. There is no chance of the current IRA taking such a stand. It is a defeated IRA. Many years ago it began to eat the elephant of total failure - one bite at a time, not remembering the previous bite and never seeing the next one being served up. Ultimately, there is nothing else it can do other than eventually ask for two pieces of sackcloth, so that those who populate its ranks shall have a fresh one for Sundays. No amount of nonsense about the greatest leadership ever and the undefeated army can explain how a combination of both, in return for our toil and the ultimate sacrifice of our comrades, brought us to a point where, in the words of Gerry Adams, ‘Sinn Fein will be putting Ian Paisley into power.’

Bravo the undefeated army!
Bravo the greatest leadership ever!
Bollix to both of you.




Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

6 December 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Fleece Process
Anthony McIntyre

Padraic Paisley
Anthony McIntyre

Revolutionary Unionism
Dr John Coulter

Official Secrets
Mick Hall

Kilmichael Controversay Continues
Liam O Ruairc

Turkish Man Beaten and Racially Abused by PSNI in front of Witnesses

Iraq is Not the Second World War
Fred A Wilcox

Dancing at the Edge of the Abyss
Karen Lyden Cox

2 December 2004

Questions - and Doubts - Remain
Tommy Gorman

Another Crisis for Trimble?
Dr John Coulter

No Gangster More Cruel
Anthony McIntyre

Love Your Enemy More Than Your Friend
Elana Golden

Mick Hall

The Biggest Mistake They Could Have Made
Áine Fox

Danilo Anderson and Condoleeza Rice
Toni Solo



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices