Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Failed Entity

Failed Entity

Michael Benson • 6 December 2004
The Blanket

It's been a long time since I put pen to paper. It's also been a long time since I was in jail. Both of those things are connected. I wrote because I was in jail and after coming out, I'd no need to be writing. Sure, I wasn't very good at it and there were others much more eloquent in their prose than I could ever be. I'm not even sure now why I am writing because I'm certainly not naive enough to think that my demonic scribbling will make any difference. But recently I have thought that if I don't say something, in writing, that my head will explode with anger.

For ten years I have watched incredulous as the Sinn Fein leadership have abandoned everything they ever stood for. I have listened to them tell lie after lie to the Republican community. I have watched as they have been continually backed into corners from which the only escape was to jettison even more Republican principles.

I have spoken to the poor deluded foot soldiers who tell me that all of this was a tactic. They told me, mostly straight faced, that Republicanism was splitting Unionism. None of them ever actually explained to me how this "splitting" would actually benefit our quest for an Irish Republic. Of course, the "splitting" theory doesn't seem so sound now as instead of splitting we now see Unionism resurgent and the prospect of the arch-bigot and Ulster Resistance founder Paisley as our leader.

One honest and sincere young man for whom I have the greatest respect and who unlike so many recent Republican converts actually found himself in Long Kesh told me that the Republican Movement had NEVER decommissioned anything and that De Chastelain had been conned. Conning there may well have been but I don't think it was the Canadian General who was conned. And no doubt if there is another act of decommissioning that the foot soldiers will be again told some outlandish story. On arms its really quite simple. A victorious Army do not relinquish their weapons. All the gloss the Leadership wants to put on it cannot disguise that. No amount of platitudes about "gestures by the IRA to enhance the peace process" will cover the ignominy of this act of surrender. Photographs of the destruction of weapons are a side issue. If the IRA leadership does not see that they have been humiliated for 10 years then a few Kodaks are going to make no difference.

One thing that really made me angry was to listen to Gerry Kelly say on TV last week that Republicans had struggled for 30 years for equality. Gerry, cara, I too was in the IRA like yourself, although your leader wasn't apparently, and not ONCE did anyone tell me I was struggling for equality. I have spent years in jail. I have been at hundreds of meetings, both of the conspiratorial type and the open type and no one EVER mentioned equality. Maybe I was just another dumb foot soldier who thought he was fighting for a Republic.

I don't have an answer to all of this and I don't see many around who do. The Leadership did their work well and their man-management skills have to be admired. They conned some, bought off some and scared off others. But that doesn't make them right. They are the people who have stabilised this "failed political entity". They have strengthened this state more than the Unionists ever could have. This "failed political entity" is in a better position than at any time since 1921. So, well done boys. It wasn't quite Victory 74, but what the hell, you are in Government…….a British Government.


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