Mudcat Café message #268715 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23852   Message #268715
Posted By: Grab
31-Jul-00 - 02:12 PM
Thread Name: BS: Grit your teeth, the PIRA boys are out
Subject: RE: BS: Grit your teeth, the PIRA boys are out
Lena,

There's several interpretations. The surface one is religion - NI has majority Protestants vs. minority Catholics, and in the 60s there were severe riots between the factions. But only the most extreme of religious nutters would use that as justification for killings. Possibly Ian Paisley (the most un-Reverend - he bought the qualification) is one of these.

The next stage down is the football violence stage. Some folks need to fight, and for that they need an enemy. This isn't any different from the violence between European football fans. The 'marching season' is a fine example of the Protestants going out to pick a fight - it has improved recently under new legislation designed to stop it descending into the usual bloodbath, but that's no thanks to the instigators.

And the last stage is power, pure and simple. The IRA and its various Protestant counterparts are heavily into drug-trafficking and protection rackets, plus an awful lot more medium-grade criminal activities (armed robbery, etc). This is about power in the same way that the Mafia is about power. They're large organised crime gangs, and that's that.

And then there's the political boys, who have sworn off violence. Unfortunately although they've stopped fighting, they're not quite sure if they want to start talking - the IRA still isn't handing over weapons. I'm hoping Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness have the sense to keep up the work so far, and not get back into pissing contests with Paisley (who frankly is barking mad).

The really ironic thing is that the more the NI Protestant Lodges insist that they're defending Britain, the less the British want them - we tend to think that they're all a bunch of savages. Not the average citizens, who voted at better than 90% to take up the NI peace agreement after the Omagh bombing, but the thugs that try to convince us that they represent the average people. But the IRA are no better either - although there's no bombings, and shootings are few now, there's still plenty of 'punishment beatings' and knee-cappings done by the IRA's heavies to folks who talk out of line or won't pay their protection money. And the Army and the RUC don't exactly have a spotless record either - they've supported the Protestants behind the scenes before now, allowed (and taken part in) assassination attempts, and intimidated the Catholic community.

The best move would be to sideline the thugs. If the British government could just say "We're doing this, and if you won't sit in government then you'll have no voice", then it'd be great, and the NI parliament walkout wouldn't have been an issue. The very fact that both the Catholics _and_ the Protestants thought it was unfair to them both shows how good it was! :-) But in the real world, power does come from the barrel of a gun. It's all just an exercise in brutality, and the sad thing is that it's not in some pissant third-world country, it's in a supposedly civilised country not far from us, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it if they don't want to stop fighting.

Grab.