Irish Republican News · July 25, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
All the Hallmarks

By Bill Delaney

An innocent man, brutally shot dead in cold blood. Lies, dissemination and spin by ‘anti-terror’ British police and the usual cabal of media and politicians.

Despite the deception, republicans will have spotted all the tell-tale signs of British state murder.

The immediate but unjustified claim to have saved lives. The ‘big lie’ -- a false accusation about the hidden device, the remote control, the gun-shaped object. Finally, a flurry of propogandised information about the victim -- in this case, claims that the “Asian terrorist” had been “under surveillance”.

Several reworkings of the story later, and timed for the weekend lull, the victim is revealed as a Brazilian going to work in a padded jacket.

Of course, the police would have known the man’s true identity within minutes of his shocking murder on a London subway.

But more indicative of the securocrat mindset than this sorry litany of lies, was the warning that more innocent people could die in similar circumstances.

It seems human rights do not apply in London -- not to people of colour, anyway, and of course, not for the Irish.

Last week’s murder brings back to mind the oft-repeated observation that if Catholics in the North were black, they would all have been killed aeons ago.

It also brings back to mind other ‘shoot-to-kills’ -- that slightly misleading phrase used to describe deliberate state killings.

Often the Irish victims were completely innocent. “Tragedies” to be regretted, like the murder of Mr Mendezes.

The killing of IRA Volunteers in ambushes was considered a triumph by the make-believe force of British law in Ireland. But Peter McBride, Aiden McAnespie and the Bloody Sunday victims were among the scores of innocents who died without any such excuse.

With everyone from Tony Blair down to the Sky weather girl rushing to justify it, we now know that British policy on shoot-to-kill hasn’t changed.

While the Provisional IRA is moving to end its armed struggle, and republicanism has been transformed beyond recognition, the hallmarks of British Imperialism remain.

Few in the British establishment have questioned why British troops are staking out the precious oil fields of Iraq.

Few have suggested the reversal of the absurd and unjustifiable national boundaries foisted on Palestine or Ireland.

Few in the British establishment have asked why young British Muslims now feel driven to commit suicidal acts of murder.

And still fewer have asked why every time the IRA seems to be defeated, the struggle continues.

For Irish nationalists, it is now abundantly clear that the Good Friday Agreement was little more than a carrot on a stick. It was never intended to be delivered to a people desperate to escape their sectarian nightmare.

Nevertheless, a decision has been made and it appears the Provisional IRA is heading for a well-earned retirement. The pike will soon be firmly fixed into the thatch. Sinn Féin, with the potential to enter government in both parts of Ireland, will enjoy significant power and can use it to advance the cause of a united Ireland.

Unionists have marched on in circles again this summer, stuck by partition in a 17th century time warp. The Ulster members of the Society for Creative Anachronism sport black bowler hats and Orange sashes instead of medieval woad. More seriously, nothing republicans can do will alter their mindset, which is to oppose change by any means necessary.

But economically and socially, the North moves on. House prices are rising faster than ever, driven by population growth and a growing immigrant population. This week sees the return of the West Belfast festival, once a determined expression of a ghettoised sub-culture, now a match for any other Irish Arts festival.

For years the British threw money into the North, wherever it would stick. A lot of it did. They were pursing the McDonalds theory of international conflict -- no country with a McDonald’s outlet has ever gone to war with another. Or more succinctly, the more impoverished the peasants, the more likely they are to revolt.

And while there might not yet be a McDonalds in Basra, there are plenty in Belfast.

It may be true that IRA Volunteers mull events more thoughtfully now than they once might have, sitting in plush cafes, munching croissants and sipping cappuccinos, rather than hunched over tea and toast in their safe houses.

But it would be a serious misjudgement to conclude that republicanism has been bought off, or that the politics of compromise has supplanted the fundamental right of the Irish to expel our colonising neighbour.

The answer, and we must hope there is one, may rest in Ireland’s social change.

It is well documented that a slow demographic decline in the Six Counties is eroding the built-in Protestant majority, while the Catholic population continues to grow.

But more significantly, Ireland’s economic growth is inevitably giving rise to a wave of immigrants and a new block of unaligned voters -- neither unionist nor nationalist.

For example, the Muslim population of the Six Counties is small but growing, to the obvious displeasure of right-wing unionists.

For the sake of peace, we all should listen to what they have to say about Palestine, Iraq... and a united Ireland.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News