User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link Ireland?s Failing Abortion Law: Statutory Interpretation, Human Rights and the Detention of Pregnant... Tue Jun 13, 2017 17:08 | admin

offsite link RIA Conference on Human Rights and the Social Sciences, June 22nd. Thu Jun 01, 2017 16:59 | admin

offsite link Asylum Seekers and the Right to Work: The Supreme Court Decision Tue May 30, 2017 15:06 | Liam Thornton

offsite link Human Rights-Based Integration Policy and the New ?Migrant Integration Strategy? Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:33 | Cliodhna Murphy

offsite link The Citizens Assembly Proposals: A Draft Bill Tue Apr 25, 2017 20:42 | admin

Human Rights in Ireland >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link Brexit duties and VAT?  11:56 Fri Jun 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link ?Posh schooled? ?cliques? and the ?ordinary member of the public? leading this state? 11:27 Fri Jun 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link From the Queen?s speech?  10:26 Fri Jun 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Strike of the times 08:10 Fri Jun 23, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Signs of Hope ? A continuing series 12:00 Thu Jun 22, 2017 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link Notes for a Book on Money and the Irish State - The Marshall Aid Program 15:10 Sat Apr 02, 2016

offsite link The Financial Crisis:What Have We Learnt? 19:58 Sat Aug 29, 2015

offsite link Money in 35,000 Words or Less 21:34 Sat Aug 22, 2015

offsite link THE WRATH OF KANE: BANKING CRISES AND POLITICAL POWER 09:32 Fri Jan 30, 2015

offsite link ALWAYS THE ARTISTS: WEEK THREE OF THE BANK INQUIRY 23:11 Thu Jan 22, 2015

Dublin Opinion >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Imperialist Propaganda (Then and Now)

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Thursday March 30, 2006 03:22author by Niall Meehan Report this post to the editors

Launch of The Origin and Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland 1920

featured image
A major addition to our understanding of media manipulation
- Basil Clarke is standing on left

Reading Brian Murphy on how the British manipulated the truth in 1920 "made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck" said Danny Morrison. The parallels between events in that one year and British activities many years later in Ireland are striking, he said.

The one time An Phoblacht editor and Sinn Fein Publicity Director, now author and playwright, launched Brian Murphy's 'The Origins and Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland 1920’ on March 24th in the Teachers’ Club in Dublin.

The 100-page work was also launched by Professor David Miller of Strathclyde University and by the author, Brian Murphy.

Morrison detailed the way in which Murphy's book outlines how the British plotted to kill a solicitor who defended IRA prisoners, how they abolished inquests and how they utilised the "language of criminalisation" in the attempt to marginalise resistance to British rule. The false accusation that prisoners' injuries were "self-inflicted" was the same as that attributed to prisoners in Castlereagh in the 1970s, said Morrison. The Defence of the realm Act (DORA) and the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act (ROIA) legislation would also be familiar to those who experienced or studied the recent conflict.

Damned lies and statistics

Reading Murphy’s account of the British manipulation of statistics with regard to IRA actions called for a reconsideration of recent statistics on the conflict in the North, said Morrison. Killings attributed to the UDA or UVF should rightfully be attributed directly to British forces, which set up and controlled such paramilitary proxy forces or ‘counter gangs’. Morrison mentioned the attempt on the life of former Sinn Fein Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alex Maskey. British agent Brian Nelson, who telephoned British Army Headquarters in Lisburn to confirm Maskey’s identity, coordinated the unsuccessful attempt. Morrison referred to Sir John Stevens of the British Metropolitan Police who spent 15 years, or one third of his professional life, investigating British collusion with unionist paramilitaries. Stevens published 17 pages of a 3,000 page report. Morrison asked, “How much more is in there?”.

The point leads directly to the question: who should the 34 deaths in the 1974 Dublin-Monaghan bombings be attributed to statistically: the UVF, the RUC, the British Army, or all three?

How the truth was “mutilated”

Morrison said that Brian Murphy’s book should be commended for the way in which it showed how the British created a “false narrative” about the conflict and how modern history books reproduced that narrative. Morrison referred to the “official” account of British soldiers being “hacked to death” and of “mutilated” bodies after the IRA’s Kilmichael ambush in November 1920, an account that was the concoction of the chief propagandist, Basil Clarke. This is the account that revisionist historian Peter Hart asserted “should not be so completely dismissed” in his ‘The IRA and its Enemies’ (1998). Besides Hart, the historians Roy Foster and David Fitzpatrick were mentioned in this context.

The book contains an appendix in which Brian Murphy questions Peter Hart’s omission of a section from an internal British intelligence document, The Record of the Rebellion, detailing British forces’ racist and sectarian view of the Irish. This is in Hart’s edition of The Record, entitled British Intelligence in Ireland 1920-21 (2002). Murphy, in addition, questions Hart’s failure in this book to account for a previous misrepresentation of a section of The Record in Hart’s The IRA and its Enemies. An Irish Times reviewer of Hart’s British Intelligence in Ireland, Brendan Ó Cathaóir, referred to Hart as “disingenuous” (28 January 2003) on this point.

Spin yesterday and today

Professor David Miller, co-editor of Spinwatch (http://www.spinwatch.org), contributed a foreword to Murphy’s study and outlined the connection with wider aspects of British policy. Miller has researched extensively the origins of British propaganda and its connection with the development of public relations. Both were originally designed, said Miller, to preserve the British Empire and also to subvert democracy in Britain itself.

Miller outlined how Basil Clarke, who ran the propaganda operation in Ireland, was a key member of British imperialist networks.

According to Miller’s foreword, Clarke and his colleagues, Hugh Pollard and C.J. Street worked closely with the head of Special Branch in London, Basil Thomson.

Through him they were connected to the key imperialist lobby networks in London. These individuals were not abashed about their politics, describing their network as the ‘diehards’ and the ‘London Imperialists’. Central to it and very close to Thomson was Admiral Reggie ‘Blinker’ Hall, who was the director of Naval Intelligence in the 1914-18 war. Together with Thomson, Hall interrogated Roger Casement in 1916 and personally leaked his ‘black diaries’ to the press in order to ensure that Casement would not be reprieved as a result of the campaign being run by Arthur Conan Doyle. According to historians, Hall’s ensuring that Casement was hanged ‘was all very gratifying; an object lesson in secret service power which Hall… was never to forget’.

Clarke went on to set up the first public relations company in Britain, and he was associated with the setting up of ‘National Propaganda’, later to become ‘The Economic League’ in 1924. Clarke and his associates recruited former Black & Tans after the war in Ireland to break up strikes and to infiltrate trade unions and left wing organisations. The Economic League was notorious up until its demise in the 1990s for blacklisting workers on a massive scale and for other forms of clandestine reactionary subversion of left wing and industrial politics. Another of the Dublin propaganda group, Hugh Pollard, flew Generalissimo Francisco Franco from the Canaries to Spain in 1936 to enable him to start his fascist coup that lead to the Spanish Civil War and nearly 40 years of brutal dictatorship.

Photographing torture

Miller indicated how propaganda was an essential part of Britain’s attempt to hold on to its empire. He said that lessons on media manipulation were passed on and honed from conflict to conflict. Miller, Editor of ‘Tell me Lies’, which deals with the conflict in Iraq, drew parallels with that conflict. Miller observed:

One of Murphy's most extraordinary revelations is that the techniques, which shocked the world in Abu Graibh, have a history longer than perhaps anyone outside the military and their political masters has suspected. He quotes the records of the torture of Tom Hales and Patrick Harte who were viciously attacked, kicked, punched, hit with revolver butts and tortured with pincers. They were threatened in a mock execution. As Murphy notes 'attempts were made to humiliate them by making them hold the Union Jack and photographs were taken of Harte with the flag held loosely in his hand'. These photographs still exist, and in a telling aside Murphy simply notes that it is one of these torture photos which adorns the front cover of revisionist historian Peter Hart's book, The IRA at War 1916-1923 (2003).

There were also parallels with the photographs taken of torture by British troops in the 1970s. Miller referred to a recent article by Gerry Adams in The Guardian on this point.

IRA ‘criminality’ in 1920

In his talk on the work Murphy quoted propagandist Major John Street as saying “the IRA rank and file” were “poor dupes of the designing criminals who pose as their officers”. Street’s views are positively civilised beside those of Hugh Pollard: “The Irish problem is a problem of the Irish race, and it is rooted in the racial characteristics of the people themselves,” wrote Pollard in 1922. The Irish he thought were “racially disposed to crime”, have “two psychical and fundamental abnormalities… moral insensibility and want of foresight” which “are the basic characteristic of criminal psychology”. Furthermore, noted Street, warming to his theme, “the Irish demand for an independent Irish Republic is… a purely hysterical manifestation”.

Pinning down Kevin Myers

Murphy outlined how propaganda and media manipulation was organized and how this propaganda ‘spin’ had a shelf life that infected modern day accounts. Kevin Myers in The Irish Times republished one concoction of Clarke’s that attempted to discredit hunger striker Terence MacSwiney. MacSwiney was accused of plotting the assassination of the Bishop of Cork. Uniquely, Myers later apologized for recirculation of this defamatory lie.

However, it was only at the book launch that we found out how and why Myers came to apologise.

MacSwiney’s grandson, spoke during the Q&A session afterwards about how getting the apology published was “not easy”. He accompanied his mother, Maura MacSwiney Brugha, “as her assistant” in pursuing Myers into The Irish Times building and in pinning Myers to a wall, in order to enable Myers to listen to his mother’s account of how he got it totally wrong. Myers was later to admit publicly that he had been “duped” by, “the insidious concoctions of the black propagandist,” Basil Clarke.

However, subsequently, Clarke’s other “insidious concoctions” found in the post-apologetic Myers a willing receptacle for publication of further propaganda.

Myers did not detect Clarke at work in the British account of the Kilmichael ambush. In The IRA and its Enemies Peter Hart thanked Myers for his help. Myers returned the compliment by praising the 1998 revisionist account as a “masterpiece”. Myers wrote in his Irishman’s diary how Tom Barry and the IRA allegedly “systematically slaughtered disarmed RIC Auxiliaries after they had surrendered”. This account, following Peter Hart, is from the Basil Clarke school of media manipulation and, as Clarke puts it, “verisimilitude” or the appearance of truth.

The role of Erskine Childers

Brian Murphy outlined the very significant role of Erskine Childers in exposing publicly the extent of British terror in Ireland. Childers also wrote extensively on the nature of British propaganda as part of the strategy of a military machine. This work deserves to be re-published and perhaps the Aubane Society will consider doing so. Murphy made observations about the significant role of Childers and other Irish Protestants in the national struggle that are still relevant today. They helped expose the nature of British terror and set up organizations like the White Cross Society, founded in 1921 for relief in Ireland. This is another part of the narrative of the Independence struggle that revisionist voices seek to stifle.

Murphy made the point that the mass imprisonment of Sinn Fein members in 1918 in conditions of blanket censorship and other forms of repression makes the election victory that year all the more impressive.

Erskine Childers was astonished at the imprisonment of his cousin, Robert Barton after Barton won a seat in the 1918 General Election. Barton was one of many imprisoned Sinn Fein TDs. The attempt by revisionists to undermine that victory is made seemingly plausible by leaving out these and other important factors. Notably, revisionist critics habitually attempt to suggest that Sinn Fein winning 48% of the first reference vote in 1918 was a true measure of its support. They leave aside the inconvenient fact that 25 seats were uncontested by Sinn Fein’s opponents, so pathetic was the level of (non) support for opponents of the republicans. No vote took place in those seats. A more accurate measure would be closer to 70% Sinn Fein support on the island of Ireland, a truly phenomenal achievement.

Murphy also made the point that the non-appearance in the historical narrative of the role of the ultra repressive ROIA and of its predecessor DORA in 1914, “has also contributed to a flawed analysis” of the causes of the 1916 Easer Rising and of subsequent Irish history.

British Empire and “capitalistic imperialism”

Murphy said that events in Ireland had implications for Britain’s Empire and the policy of developing an Anglo-American alliance. Murphy quoted Childers on the post World War One Paris Peace Conference that resulted in the Treaty of Versailles, a treaty that sowed the seeds of the Second World War. Childers wrote: “it has not been difficult to stifle the voice of Ireland at Paris. Her independence has no market value, while its repression on the grounds of military necessity was the best of all precedents for similar policies elsewhere.” He concluded, “the subjection of Ireland is international poison contaminating the politics of the world”.

Murphy said that “Great Britain was free to develop its empire and its quest for oil in such areas as India, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) Afghanistan and Africa. The War of Irish Independence was fought out in the context of these and other battles by British forces to make good their claim to these new zones of imperial expansion”.

In the context of the third anniversary of the present Iraq war Murphy said it was “sobering to consider that at that time, the much vaunted Irish-American influence in America counted for nothing in comparison with the powerful Anglo-American interests that dominated the corridors of power in Washington. An interest that still exercises far more sway than the Irish over American policy today, despite the generous gift of Shamrock and Shannon Airport to President Bush”.

Childers said in 1919, “look behind the force that holds down Ireland and you will recognize, in one of its unnumerable forms, the ugly face of capitalistic imperialism”.

Lively discussion

A lively discussion took place afterwards, with speakers asking whether propagandists believe their own propaganda, if there was anything on the situation in the North at the time, on the role of the Internet in creating an alternative view, and observations about how the Irish Times permits letter writers to question Kevin Myers’ use of language but not to correct abuse of the facts. Manus O’Riordan, author of a recent pamphlet on James Connolly, took up Murphy’s invitation to discuss the problem of censorship on the Irish Times letters page. Murphy asserted that he was able to have a letter published recently when “Madam” was “away”, apparently at a funeral.

Danny Morrison suggested that Kevin Myers “as a human being” might change his opinion if he took up Morrison’s invitation to visit West Belfast during the West Belfast Festival and see for himself. Unfortunately, Myers has perennially been unable to take up the invitation, on one occasion, as he informed Morrison, because was unaware that his wife had simultaneously organized a barbeque in the Myers back garden.

Brian Murphy was encouraged by many speakers to continue with his valuable and stimulating research and, as Terence MacSwiney’s grandson put it, to “keep seeking the truth”.

The Origin and Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland 1920, by Brian Murphy is available from http://www.spinwatch.org and http://www.aubane.org.

Related Link: http://www.spinwatch.org

Chomsky co-author praises Murphy's study
Chomsky co-author praises Murphy's study

Some more comments on the book
Some more comments on the book

Torture of Tom Hailes and Patrick Harte - as used by Peter Hart
Torture of Tom Hailes and Patrick Harte - as used by Peter Hart

From Illustrated London News - IRA as depicted in propaganda account
From Illustrated London News - IRA as depicted in propaganda account

author by Niall Meehanpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 02:23Report this post to the editors

On bloody Sunday on November 20th 1920 the IRA under Michael Collins dealt a severe blow to the British intelligence apparatus in Dubllin by assassinating the chief operatives. Later that day in Croke Park British troops sprayed with bullets and killed some of those watching a match, including a player, Patrick Hogan from Tipperary.

On thesame day, as the result of a tip off from an informer the British arrested IRA Brigade Commander Dick McKee and his deputy Peadar Clancy. In addition they arrested Conor Clune, a clerk form the West of Ireland, in mistake for another IRA volunteer. The three were taken to Dublin Castle where they were tortured with bayonets and then shot dead in the Castle guardroom.

Later a British Court of inquiry 'found' that the three were shot while trying to escape. One witness at the 'enquiry' realised it was a fake when he read its 'findings' in a Dublin evening newspaper ten minutes after he had finished giving evidence to the 'enquiry'. Basil clarke concocted the scenario.

Brian Murphy details in the book how Basil Clarke and his colleagues manufactured this lie and how they disseminated it to the media and to the general public. Clarke faked two photographs, shown here, that purported to depict how the volunteers attempted to make their escape.

The Sinn Fein Irish information Service exposed the lie, one of many successful acts of refutation of British propaganda.

Fake British photograph of McKee, Clancy and Clune in Custody
Fake British photograph of McKee, Clancy and Clune in Custody

Fake British photograph of 'attempted escape' by McKee, Clancy and Clune
Fake British photograph of 'attempted escape' by McKee, Clancy and Clune

Hart's edition of The Record, in which he left out bits without telling his readers
Hart's edition of The Record, in which he left out bits without telling his readers

Tom Barry and Kilmichael survivors 1966 - posthumous victims of Basil Clarke
Tom Barry and Kilmichael survivors 1966 - posthumous victims of Basil Clarke

Last survivor of Kilmichael Ambush, Ned Young - Peter Hart claimed to have interviewed an ambush survivor a week after young died – anonymously (or should that be posthumously again?).
Last survivor of Kilmichael Ambush, Ned Young - Peter Hart claimed to have interviewed an ambush survivor a week after young died – anonymously (or should that be posthumously again?).

Related Link: http://www.spinwatch.org
author by Seosamh de Barrapublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 02:57Report this post to the editors

At least back then we had a clear enemy for us all to see. Today, as Irish republicans, the enemy is as much the Irish Govt and the Irish civil service (although it does not have the same ruthless element perhaps) as it is the British equivilant. Similar with the media.

David McWilliams said in a speech in Galway last weekend that:

“The Irish language is the single most conspicuous example of what makes Irish people different.”

“I don’t want to be misdiagnosed as English.” (He wasn't speaking politically).

What is the difference between us Irish and English people? Is it the GAA, Irish music, the fact that we actually fought the Brisih for independence?

Come on, the challenge today is to make the country more Irish speaking than it is to deal with historians who are trying to anglacize the country. Isn't the country already anglacized enough because most of the population don't speak Irish?

I don't want to mix poltics and Irish, but I do find it ironic that many republicans can't speak Irish.

author by Seosamh de Barrapublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 03:03Report this post to the editors

I should have said that the Irish media have a more ruthless element in relation to Ireland than the British media do.

author by David Nixonpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 14:31Report this post to the editors

The information above casts Erskine Childers in a totally new light. I had always thought of him as a dufferish version of his son, the former President of the same name. I looks now like the old block was a lot more radical than the young chip.

The anecdote about Myers from Terence McSwiney’s grandson made me laugh. When Myers wrote that insulting stuff last year bout “MOBs” (mothers of bastards) the latter should have converged on the Irish Times and laid siege to the building.

Reasoned argument and refutation obviously plays no role in that man’s mentality.

author by risiblepublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 19:19Report this post to the editors

Who are the people on the front of the dust jacket?

author by eeekkkkkkpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 19:46author email ecrudden at eircom dot netReport this post to the editors

And no I didn't just know that - author Niall told me

well done on latest in a series of great history reports niall

I bet the stuff on here is more widely read than most Irish history stuff published in journals

author by Niall Meehanpublication date Tue Mar 28, 2006 21:31Report this post to the editors

If you bought the book you would know this........?

Confined to the Castle - Basil Clarke standing on left
Confined to the Castle - Basil Clarke standing on left

Related Link: http://www.spinwatch.org
author by Edward deBonopublication date Wed Mar 29, 2006 17:21Report this post to the editors

You can find it here:

www.indymedia.ie/article/75152

or at:

www.dailyireland.com

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75152
author by Moirapublication date Wed Mar 29, 2006 22:53Report this post to the editors

This is really interesting - a side of Irish history they never taught us at school. I can't help seeing parallels between the anti-Irish propoganda used by the British government then and the anti-muslim cartoons and the way they are being used to prepare us for an attack on Iran. They are very good at learning from history, our side aren't always so good!

author by anonpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 06:02Report this post to the editors

What was Peter Hart's purpose in putting that photo on the cover?
What description does he give of on the inside cover?

author by Niall Meehanpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 19:46Report this post to the editors

Aside from his censorship of important and relevant information, Peter Hart’s subtle put-down of anti imperial history is evident in the extract from his ‘IRA at War’ on the website above.

In it Hart counterposes his categories of enquiry, “class, status, gender, ethnicity, social psychology and structure” to a bogeyman “nationalist concept” that is his own invention (page 6). This essentialy mythical construct (Hart's construct) he construes as the basis for “some of the opposition to “revisionism””. Such false opposites, in which the anti-revisionist position is caricatured, inevitably condemn alternatives to the Hart account to the dunce’s corner. On another thread I referred to this as “the adoption of a sort of sociological history, which gives his analysis a left-wing veneer” (www.indymedia.ie/article/69172). Of course, when Hart is pressed on the pre-eminence of class categories he comes over all coy and claims a non-position on all ideologies. He even suggests: “Of course class is important, it's a factor in everything, but I don't think class struggle as such was a major factor in the Irish revolution.” That is because he cannot see class tensions expressing themselves though the national struggle. They are always “subordinated” to it. (see History Ireland debate with Peter Hart over four issues, March-April to Sept-October on www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/featlist.html).

However, allied to that superficially sophisticated approach is an essentially policeman’s theory of the Irish revolution where, to quote Hart again, “government actions are governed by bureaucratic inertia or disorganization rather than imperial malevolence or interest”. In a telling attempt at an overview Hart refers to “incompetently oppressive government” (page 3). It is this picture of the incompetence of counterinsurgency measures that characterise Hart’s approach. If only, if only, the government forces were not constantly releasing prisoners, if only they pressed home their oppressive advantage, then things could have been different. It is a variation on the 'How the US could have won the Vietnam War' discussion in the US by elite analysts.

These are just some observations on Hart’s overall approach. While such discussion is interesting in its own right, and is perhaps decisive in forming an overall opinion as to what was happening in Ireland during those years, I really do wonder at conducting such a debate with an analyst who appears incapable of laying all relevant facts (note, not all facts, just the relevant ones) at his disposal on the table for our consideration.. When a clear pattern of omission has been established, as I believe it has, and when a bias can be detected in that pattern, is there much point in conducting the discussion with Peter Hart? He has not once offered a clear simple explanation to the very clear questions about censorship of evidence and that he has been asked. Not once. I see little point in pursuing the matter further and I have probably spent too much time on it here.

That is why the approach offered by Brian Murphy and others is so much more rewarding. You don’t have to second guess the material. The setting of the events from 19160-21 in the context of imperialism and world politics helps to explain why Ireland was isolated within big power politics but joined a the hip with the real democratic movement of the 20th Century, that of opposition to colonial government and empire building. That analysis is relevant to an understanding of what is happening in the world today. Peter Hart’s is a simpleton’s analysis of the Irish situation in which Irish Catholics fought British Protestants in the search for “ethnic security”, mediated by a British government muddling though in as 'decent' a manner as it knew how.

Reading Brian Murphy’s book is a positive antidote to the ideological revisionist’s approach.

See (if you have the time or inclination):

www.indymedia.ie/article/74416
www.indymedia.ie/article/70063
www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=67769
www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=69567
www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=69172

www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/featlist.html
www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/13.5FeatA.html
www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/13.5FeatC.html
www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/13.4FeatB.html
www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/13.3FeatB.html
www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/13.2FeatC.html

Related Link: http://www.historyireland.com/magazine/features/featlis....html
author by iosaf mac diarmada - ipsiphipublication date Sat Apr 01, 2006 14:31author address barcelonaReport this post to the editors

That they ought try and understand imperialist history, not in the generations of their ancestors, nor in the relentless rythmic to and fro of the pendulum of "liberal tolerance and debate" followed by "repressive punishment" but instead from the imperialists' themselves perspective. Its an application of the old adage "know your enemy". No matter what starting point we use in Irish or any other historical narrative, we can see the pendulum clearly swing. Perhaps sharon would be better at drawing an exact timeline "since 1169" (which i refuse to do, preferring to date and treat on our history and historical problematic relationship with imperialism from the elizabethan age at earliest and the dawn of republicanism in the XVIII century at the latest). But I reckon that approximately every 2nd generation the Irish have been "divided" and "got it in the face". That approximation is roughly every 50 to 65 years. Sometimes the pendulum is quicker on the return, sometimes a little bit tardy. Those who seek to hold the upward string of the pendulum are trained to think of history not in swathes of 50 or even 65 years, allowing for their longer than average life-spans they don't even think or plan for single lifetimes, but rather for centuries.
Explaining geo-politics today to Spanish and Catalan students for me must always begin with their own imperialist history, the expansion which followed the reconquest of Al Andaluz by the "catholic kings" the empire which followed the "discovery" of the Americas, and the proto-homogenous kingdom state which resulted from the expulsion of the sephards (all in the same year). They have learnt badly so many times what occured in that period, ironically since it is one of the first dates learnt by rote by all school-kids; that their mistakes and errors are fossilised, and it really requires a quantum leap on their part to understand how Europe followed the united kingdoms of Castille and Aragon into global empire. They laugh at me "the english were pirates" they laugh louder when tell them "my ancestors were pirates & so too am I". Then they tell me "the english had faster boats". But when I ask them the very obvious question they just can't answer it. The veryobvious question being Considering the size of the Atlantic Ocean how did the Engurlish pirates find the Spanish galleons on the "Spanish main"??? The answer is the beginning of modern espionage.
It ought make no one's hair curl that an art form developed over half a millenium ago had been so masterly developed by the time the pendulum of "tolerant debate on national rights and aspirations" had passed An Gorta Mór through Parnell and the IRB/Fenians to "give it to them in the face" by 1916, 1922, 1969.... when are we due again? Are we yet prepared to spot the brushstrokes of this nefarious masterwork? Do we yet in the words of a RTS! sticker for London 98 "learn everytime and do it better next?" I believe we have. But it small comfort for us, for we do not think in millenia, we do not live on titles of land and stolen riches en perpetua . We live traumatised parents to forgetful children to "here we go again" grandchildren.

© iosaf mac diarmada.
april fool's day. 2006. (that half a page of a new book)

I remember as a kid being shown a video interview with one of Collin's team who executed the newly arrived spies on 21/xi/20. & my grandfather was in Croke Park, got properly traumatised. Unfortuanately the old man and executioner who was only asked predictable questions had to be subtitled as his voice was almost gone. But I remember one of the phrases he used -


"may God have mercy on your soul"

Holbein the younger's meticulous portrait of the French diplomats to London in 1533. (see the brush strokes?)
Holbein the younger's meticulous portrait of the French diplomats to London in 1533. (see the brush strokes?)

author by Cathal M. Brugha - UCDpublication date Mon Apr 03, 2006 14:11Report this post to the editors

Actually I didn't pin him to the wall. The credit goes to my mother who asked the editor for an opportunity to confront Myers. The editor insisted on Myers having a sub-editor present. So my mother brought me to even things up. She challenged him to give his source and to publish a correction in an article.
Anyone who knows anything about Terence MacSwiney would know that the suggestion that he would plan to assassinate the Bishop of Cork was one of the more ludricrous examples of British propaganda at the time.
The problem is that a revisionist historian then went on to make a snide remark about MacSwiney being bloodthirsty. Thus history gets distorted.
The great John McGahern who died this week was asked what was the most important thing in writing: Accuracy.
My point at the book launch was to assert the importance of the work of Brian Murphy and Manus O'Riordain (see his work on Connolly being published this week) in correcting inaccuracy and defending the truth. Don't presume that falsehoods should be ignored.
As it turned out, Kevin Myers received my mother in a most gentlemanly way, and was very gracious when he made the withdrawal in a later aricle.

Cathal M. (MacSwiney) Brugha.

author by Niall Meehanpublication date Thu Apr 27, 2006 16:50author address Aubane Historical Society Millstreet Corkauthor phone 0044 79 06279332Report this post to the editors

See: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75711
for more detail

"The overwhelming British superiority in manpower was partly countered by Irish superiority in womanpower"

BOOK LAUNCHES (with the authors)

CORK CITY LIBRARY
(Grand Parade)
Saturday, 29th April, 2006 3.30 pm

“The Origins and Organisation of
British Propaganda In Ireland 1920”
by Brian P Murphy OSB

&

“Florence and Josephine O'Donoghue's
War of Independence”
by John Miller Borgonovo

Sponsored by:

The Aubane Historical Society,
Aubane, Millstreet, Co. Cork

All Welcome

Cork launch Saturday of Brian Muphy with this new book by US historian John Borgonovo
Cork launch Saturday of Brian Muphy with this new book by US historian John Borgonovo

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75711
author by Childers fanpublication date Thu Aug 03, 2006 13:40Report this post to the editors

What did the president and founder of Sinn Fein say of Childers in the Treaty Debates, when phase one - the 'war of independence' - was over?

From the UCC website:

"PRESIDENT A. GRIFFITH:

Before this proceeds any further, I want to say that President de Valera made a statement---a generous
statement---and I replied. Now [striking the table] I will not reply to any Englishman in this Dáil [applause].

MR. P. O'KEEFE:

It is nearly time we had that.

PRESIDENT A. GRIFFITH:

It is about time.

MR. ERSKINE CHILDERS:

My nationality is a matter for myself and for the constituents that sent me here.

PRESIDENT A. GRIFFITH:

Your constituents did not know what your nationality was.

MR. ERSKINE CHILDERS:

They have known me from my boyhood days---since I was about half a dozen years of age.

PRESIDENT A. GRIFFITH:

I will not reply to any damned Englishman in this Assembly."

So much for the new democracy with its own built-in racism...and just before they all indulged in a civil war. It's fatal to believe your own propaganda. Such a sad time, with these control freaks taking over from the previous set.

Number of comments per page
  
 
© 2001-2017 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy