The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Putrid Smell Of The Middle Class

I sit on a man's back choking him and making him carry me,
and yet assure myself and others that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all possible means
-- except by getting off his back.
- Leo Tolstoy

Brendan Hughes • 18 April 2002

I used to watch them. They came and they went. The collar and tie. The priest, the probation officer, the so-called social worker. Through the broken window or grill from my stinking cell I watched them pass, the clean smell of their after shave wafting across and into my nostrils. I liked the scent but not the people bearing it. I wanted it but I did not want to change places with them. I was with the poor - as unwashed as I was - of Belfast and Derry estates, Tyrone and South Armagh villages. A better class of people. Despite no after-shave they even smelt better too. For years I never could figure out why.

There was no envy on my part for those 'Christian' people of so-called good intent. I would watch as they walked, ignoring me and the 'bad' people. Their smug sense of self-satisfaction adding a bounce to their step. Hypocrites that they were they could walk out smiling after having witnessed another beating, a kid being tortured, starved, beaten and degraded. And they walked but never talked. Their comfortable existence kept them quiet.

Ten men died because people like that did nothing. Because they stayed silent ten men had to speak in the only way they could in order to make the world listen. The boys on hunger strike were no saints - we can be grateful for that. If being saintly meant walking up the H-Block yard with your nose in the air, indifferent to the misery just yards away, feigning some Christianity then sainthood was definitely not for us. It seemed to be anything but what Jesus Christ stood for. But then he wasn't saintly enough for them either so they done him in. Just as they did Bobby, Tom, Red Mick and the others in.

Of course, it was 'suicide'. People 'took their own lives' and sinned against God their maker. Perhaps that eases the conscience for them as they sit in their big houses, looking out at their latest fancy car, tripping over the altar rails, collecting the next fat wage packet, buying the newest cologne.

Now when I think back to those days in the H-Blocks, I know why we smelt better than the 'good' people. They carried the real stench - the rotten odour of middle class corruption.












































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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles


17 February 2007

Brendan Hughes
Archive Material

6 February 2008

Other Articles From This Issue:

Was it a War?
Michael Gillespie

Impossible Task for Truth Body
David Adams

Pandora's Box
John Kennedy

Villians of the Peace
Mick Hall

India's Undeclared War
Cedric Gouverneur

Borders Exist to be Crossed: Maryam Namazie
Anthony McIntyre

That This House Believes That Irish Republicanism Has No Future: Opposed
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh

Dismantling Partition
32 County Sovereignty Movement

We Shall Not Be Deterred
Brian Mór

Martin Meehan
Anthony McIntyre

Washington Pressure on Dodds
Fr Sean Mc Manus

No Pope Here
Brian Mór

Fundamental Primer
Dr John Coulter

Internal Exiles
Seaghán Ó Murchú

14 January 2008

Republicanism...Alive or Dying?
Anthony McIntyre

Pillocks of the Community
John Kennedy

Irish Unity Cannot Be Ruled Out
David Adams

A Great Republican and a Great Man
Aine Doherty

John Kelly
Anthony McIntyre

How Urgent the Need?
John Kelly, from an interview with Liam Clarke

My Grandfather's Insurgency
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain

Kitsonian Success With the Provos...?
Liam O Comain

McGuinness Takes the Finland!
John Kennedy

Provisional Sinn Fein - Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater
Jerry Pepin

John Kennedy

Operation Helvetic: To Be Expected
Michael Gillespie

Hung Out to Dry
John Kennedy

Re-Imagining Ireland
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission
Mick Hall

One Armed Bandit
John Kennedy

Terrorism and Leftism
Paddy Hackett

Power to the People
John Kennedy



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