Unionists totally and utterly wrong on Maze and Past

Anyone who believes we can just “draw a line under the past” seriously needs to read Malachi O’Doherty’s piece in the Irish Times.

In it, he demonstrates the folly of the (capital-U) Unionist position against the Maze; and the sense of the Progressive position in favour.

That is not to discount the genuinely held views of many victims that the Maze is the wrong place for such a Centre. I honestly take the contrary view, as does Malachi. It is the ideal place, because it would centre not on what people did while they were there, but rather on what they did to get there.

One error some Progressives do make is the notion that “We should just move on”. We cannot just move on, because the biggest political movements (and they are “movements”) are determined not to. Indeed, they base their very survival on re-living the past every day. In particular, Sinn Fein has embarked on a clear campaign to re-write history. Already they are suggesting the IRA won Catholics the vote; that the IRA won repeal of the Act of Union; that the IRA were glorious defenders of civil rights. This is total and utter claptrap – and that it is total and utter claptrap should be written in big letters at a Centre visited by millions.

All Unionists are guilty of pursuing the laughable notion that we can forget about our history until we’ve agreed a single version of it. As Malachi says, we will never do that. It has never been done in human history. Quite on the contrary, Unionists are fiddling while Sinn Fein re-writes everything – on radio programmes, to visiting school groups, at Irish-American fundraisers.

Why does even this matter? Because if we forget the lessons of history, we are bound to repeat them. Already there are impressionable young men who believe that the IRA campaign should be repeated and this time carried on (we call these “dissident Republicans”); and there are impressionable young men who believe that sheer weight of numbers with a topping of regular violence can make “Ulster” a Protestant-only state (unfortunately we call these “Loyalists”, although that is an insult to most real Loyalists). This is why the futility of terrorism and violence when the democratic option plainly exists has to be re-stated over and over again; and this is why the story of the Troubles – of the ultimate victory of democracy over terrorism – should be told at the Maze, and in many other settings too.


12 thoughts on “Unionists totally and utterly wrong on Maze and Past

  1. mooretwin69 says:

    We’ll never get agreement on an objective story told at the Maze or anywhere else. All that’s possible is two competing “narratives”, but since this would give equal precedence to pro-terror arguments it would not be acceptable. So best to have nothing.

    • Two problems there.

      Firstly, even you are falling for Sinn Féin’s “two narratives” bunkum. There are many narratives. There are Loyalists who refer to paramilitaries as “killed by the State”; there are those opposed to terrorism who believe collusion and/or internment were justified and those who don’t; etc etc. it is a lot more complex than that.

      Second, if you say nothing Sinn Féin’s rewriting of history to an ignorant public (remembering that my own teenage stepson asks “What were the Troubles?”), then Sinn Féin’s narrative becomes accepted doctrine. I already know of one Protestant from an RUC family who argues on Twitter that the IRA campaign was necessary to achieve civil rights. Is that what you want, everyone buying into that narrative? Because if it is, the inaction you propose is the way forward; if it isn’t, you need to opt in to the debate – and before it’s too late.

      In the battle over the past, all it’ll take for evil to triumph is good people to do nothing. I think you’re a good person. But are you just going to do nothing?

      • chris roche says:

        Mulroney says:
        ‘…then Sinn Fein’s NARRATIVE becomes accepted doctrine….’
        The only narrative that matters (for ill or good) is the one emanating from Hollywood, Las Angles. How many Pullie movies are there? NONE. How many IRA movies are there? Dozens! And that’s not counting the British,Irish, and Nazi Germany ones!
        THE ORANGE ORDER PULLIES HAVE TOGO (you’ve probably heard the Orangemen bragging about the fact that there is an Orange lodge in the African country alluded to AND THE IRA HAS TINSELTOWN! All the reasoned and informed arguments put forward by apologists on both sides of the political divide in Northern Ireland matter not a whit in the face of popular culture and what it perceives to be sexy and commercial. Is the sight of a stoned Pullie urinating against a Catholic church sexy to anyone but a nutjob?

  2. harryaswell says:

    Parsley, as usual, expresses his extremeist views without considering the points of views of the majority, apart from a sneer! The battle of the past? Really? What about the everyday instances of terrorist attacks from Republicans? Hardly the past! – Also, to follow the ideaology of the Peace Process, Forgive, Forget, and Respect, it does take both sides to tango. Hardly going to happen were murder is concerned. Alliance, shown here by Parsley, are always far too thoughtless and disrespectful of others. The very idea of having this shrine to the IRA at the Maze shows disrespect. Very foolish thing to do. Far, FAR better without it!

    • paul says:

      harry peter was totally right pulling the maze project given sinn feins antics as for the alliance party they will be eaten alive at the polls very soon.I predict NI 21 will be a very big threat to them.UUP liberal unionists who defected voting alliance now have a pro union alternative

      • It is alarming how many people focus on the electoral outcomes of these things.

        I couldn’t give a damn about the electoral outcome (although I’ve little doubt the Alliance vote will be up). What I care about is the damage done to society by tossing away the Rule of Law, ignoring the truth about the past, and offering simplistic solutions to complex problems.

  3. I wonder would it be worth putting up a comparative exhibition of timelines/series of storyboards of the troubles from, say, four broadly representative perspectives:
    republican /
    nationalist-SDLP-Irish Government /
    unionist – UUP/DUP- British Government /
    loyalist (these are just working headings),
    Display these in parallel alongside each other.
    Each storyboard to have a thin panel of queries and commentary running alongside it (a series of questions alongside stories: why would this be thought to work? Would it ever be likely to unite people? What of the likely community relations consequences?)

    Cross-linkage re the blind-spots in each story item, eg an IRA bombing story linked directly across to a story of funeral/grieving family and/or a piece of counter security reaction in the unionist-British Government storyboard/timeline, so that each timeline would present the narrative of a particular perspective within its own terms but have a series of queries or linkages running alongside. which will open each perspective up to its own blind-spots and the ongoing reactive cycle?

    The storyboards might allow the internal “logic” of each side’s worldview to be seen, but they will each be opened up repeatedly up to questioning/ counter-interpretation in the commentary running alongside and these interrogative cross-linkages to others’ stories. This might allow fresh perspectives for the future. I think it could be really fascinating and enlightening….

    • I absolutely see where you are coming from, but I honestly wouldn’t do that. That indicates those perspectives are equally valid. Actually they’re not!

      I would propose exactly what Malachi proposes. List the clearly established facts, and allow the visitor to reach their own conclusions.

  4. It’s not that they’re equally valid, or invalid, but they each have their blind spots and inability to take account of difference. Therefore subjecting them to interrogation throughout just seemed useful.

  5. paul says:

    peter was totally right in pulling the maze project given sinn fein s antics nice to be here again ian are you looking forward to getting eaten alive soon at the polls…?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: