The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Letter to Uncle


``Our experience of the Irish Peace Process has shown us in a very real way that dialogue and negotiation is the best way to achieve the peaceful resolution of conflicts."

So spoke Gerry Adams on Thursday, in calling for the Irish people to oppose war in Iraq. It would be hard to think of a single phrase which better encapsulated the Republican message. The logic of his speech cannot be faulted; as he pointed out one cannot justify a campaign in which inevitably civilians will die. As we line up shoulder to shoulder this weekend with our fellow peace activists, it is with a mixture of pride and sadness: Pride, because we have taken a courageous and principled stand yet again; sadness, because of the distress that this appears to have caused to some of our friends in America, and it is to them that I address my words today.

First of all let me say this; the bond of struggle that unites us with our comrades in America is an unbreakable one. Words cannot express our appreciation for the endless gifts of support, encouragement and hardware over the years. You will never know what it meant to know that we had steadfast supporters in armchairs and bars across your great country, and your warmth, advice, and fully tax-deductable contributions mean as much to us now as they ever did. There has been a great deal of speculation that the party was distancing itself from INA, apparently on the basis that it had become an embarrassment. No article of this nature would be complete without mention of Noraid. So, hello, Noraid.

Friends of Sinn Fein, however, we would suggest is perhaps the organisation best placed to capture the hearts, minds and disposable income of the new generation of activists. For those who wish to make a less public commitment, our new "inner circle" group, Friends of a Friend of Sinn Fein will provide a similar role. The launch of FoFoSF last week received little attention but was a memorable evening for those of us privileged to hear Gerry give the inaugural address at a banquet at Trump Towers. He is, of course, an electrifying speaker, especially in English. I don't know about you but I never get tired of hearing the heartwarming anecdote of how the British Army once tried to find him by using his dog, Livingstone, to sniff him out. I don't want to boast, but judging by the company we had on the top table, our long cherished dream of outspending Fianna Fail at the next election is within our grasp. The only difficulty I had was keeping up with the intricacies of American politics. For example, being a Republican in America means something completely different. There, it usually refers to a staunch capitalist who likes to wrap himself in the flag, tends to be very pro-military and in favour of the death penalty. It can be quite confusing sometimes. I was quizzed about our attitude to the Middle East. I explained that we understood their concern and that we sympathised with them, particularly in the aftermath of September 11th. We too have experienced terrorism, and while others just talk about apposing it, I pointed out that Gerry Adams had devoted an entire Ard Fheis speech to it, in which he described it as ethically indefensible. Our guests walked away from the table at this point, so I assume that our answer impressed them.

After that it was a quick ride to the airport, with barely enough time to leave a message on the INA's machine, and then home. So long good buddies!

Jimmy Sands
Ceann Comhairle
Caribbean Sinn Fein






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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
- Thomas J. Watson

Index: Current Articles

16 February 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


A Plan "B" for Tony Blair and Northern Ireland
Paul Fitzsimmons


Evidence, What Evidence?
Michael Youlton


Choices to be Made
Larry Kirwan


Talking Through His Cassock
Bert Ward


Letter to Uncle
Jimmy Sands


Long Kesh Meets Peterhouse
Anthony McIntyre


Socialists, Leadership and the Working Class
Davy Carlin


14 February 2003


Anti War March Tomorrow
Davy Carlin


A Tale of Two Writers
Anthony McIntyre


Phil Berrigan is Dead
Larry Kirwan


8 Mile Worth the Trip
Mick Hall


A Letter of Protest
Orlaith Dillon


London Arrests Update




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The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
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