Collusion not ruled out
I refer to the article in AP/RN, 7 September 2000, concerning the murder of Rosemary Nelson. Shortage of space dictates that most publications report selectively, but the article does contain numerous inaccuracies. Most seriously, the subheadline asserts that I have ruled out collusion in Rosemary's murder. This is not the case and I continue to search for security force collusion.
Since my arrival on this island some sixteen months ago, I have tried to be as open and transparent as possible and had Ms Doherty contacted me, the inaccuracies could have been prevented.
Is fearrde thú chint.
c/o Norfolk Constabulary
Learning the lessons of oppression
As someone currently researching anti-Irish racism in Scotland, I think Mick Derrig is right to raise the issue on your pages (An Phoblacht, 31 August).
The sectarian residue in Scotland cannot be explained away by a `two tribes/both as bad as each other' argument. Irish Catholics were racialised as inferior by a Scottish nation up to its knees in the blood of colonised peoples, including the Irish. The historical evidence of this is well documented; the monuments celebrating it still exist in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The Irish in Scotland carried a racist stamp of inferiority. There were calls to repatriate the `menace to the Scottish race', as the Church of Scotland and very respectable politicians described them in the inter-war years. The first Secretary of State for Scotland was an Orangeman and as late as the 1950s the Unionist Party (as the Scottish Tories styled themselves) could win over 50 per cent of Scottish votes in general elections. It took the loss of the Empire before this poisonous politics lost its relevance, though the role of the Scottish regiments in Ireland still provide periodic reminders.
I think Mick is mistaken on a few points, though. It is Scottish nationalists who are principally in denial about Scotland's role in the Empire. This contradicts their understanding of Scotland as some sort of victim of oppression, rather than the oppressive nation it really was. What I understand as the `British Left' - those who oppose the British State with class politics - have so far avoided the subject, certainly in print.
A shared experience of class struggle, however, was the other major factor that undermined religious divisions in modern Scotland. Here the `Protestant working class' does not now lead any real separate existence to Catholic working class people, unlike in the Six Counties perhaps. Bigotry is now mainly a sport of sorts for the minority who still require it as a badge of identity (though that's obviously no consolation for its victims). Class politics is more important, even in Drumchapel Mick, where socialists organise and attract far more political support than loyalists and/or fascists. You can't simply apply Belfast's political landscape to Glasgow.
The weakness of this common class-consciousness, however, is that it does not yet largely go beyond labourist/trade union politics to directly tackle issues of oppression. This explains why bigotry, and confused explanations for it, still remain. And also racism. It is very misleading to imply that racism against Catholics is the Scottish equivalent to racism against black people in England. The discrimination and the attacks that we suffer on the occasional Saturday pales against the treatment of black people here in Scotland seven days a week, in all walks of life.
In this respect, I was glad to see a black campaigner speaking at the annual James Connolly march in Edinburgh, demanding that refugees are made welcome here. Learning the lessons of your own past oppression, how it can be overcome, and fighting together for the liberation of all exploited and suffering peoples is the task for all of us today.
Diarmuid O'Neill Commemoration
This Saturday, 23 September, will mark the fourth anniversary of Diarmuid O'Neill's death at the hands of the London Metropolitan Police in Hammersmith. To date, Cork Ógra Shinn Féin and Cork Sinn Féin have held fotnightly pickets in our city to create public awareness for the Justice for Diarmuid O'Neill campaign.
Ógra Shinn Féin and Sinn Féin in Cork, Waterford, and Youghal will hold simultaneous vigils in memory of Diarmuid O'Neill at 2pm on Saturday in the respective main squares. Everyone is welcome.
This year, Cork Sinn Féin will hold its first public Volunteer Diarmuid O'Neill Commemoration at Duiarmuid's graveside in Timoleague, County Cork, at 12 Noon on Sunday, 24 September.
We are hoping that the vigils and the commemoration will be well attended and that as many areas as possible from throughout Munster and further afield are represented to show support for Diarmuid's family and their campaign for justice. Billets can be arranged for people travelling.
Diarmuid O'Neill/Donnacha De Barra Cumann,
Dealing in personal responsibility
In reply to Michael Pierse's article in the 3 August issue, titled Felons and Fellonis, while I agree with most of what he had to say about the Regina Felloni case, I do feel that he was making excuses for drug dealers. The victims of her drug dealing and drugs related crime were hardly mentioned.
What I found most annoying was the last paragraph, in which he stated: ``Self righteousness in our society is an evasion of the truth, that many of us could easily be in the position of Regina Felloni. The message should be that society condemns the crime committed, but not the human being.''
The vast majority of people choose not to become drug dealers like Regina Felloni and there is nothing self righteous about this.
The message should be that the Regina Fellonis of this world should start taking responsibility for the pain and hurt they inflict on communities and Michael Pierse should not lift them off the hook and offload the responsibility onto everyone else. The words personal responsibility were not mentioned in his article.
Don't forget us!
As a regular visitor to Belfast and your struggle's supporter I have always been glad to read some news about our struggle from time to time. But to my ashtonishment, there's nearly no news since ETA ended its year long ceasefire. After the collapsing of the ceasefire due to lack of interest by the Spanish Government in engaging in talks, ETA came back to war. Since January, there have been a number of operations but none of this has appeared in your paper. During these months, ETA has attacked both Spanish army and police forces as well as right wing party (PP) representatives and sorrowfully, four Volunteers were blown up in a premature explosion last August.
At this hard moments of our struggle, when the PP, in government in Spain, plans to pass some more repressive laws to fight the Basque independentism; when 20 people working in different Basque organizations have been arrested and charged with being in ETA's political leadership as a result of their political work; when the offices of Herri Batasuna (a legal political party with a broad support) have been one more time raided by the Spanish police; when once again the government is trying to criminalise the independentist youth... we, more than ever, need your support.
So, don't forget us and let the Irish people know about developments in our fight for freedom.