The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Crippling Critique
There will always be sheep, content to bray in repetitive chorus, the trite, monotonous pabulum, offered by feebleminded leaders. Unaware that the attribute they manifest is not patriotism, but subordination, they are to be pitied, not reviled
- Bernard "Bud" Eichelhardt
Anthony McIntyre • June 12 2003

A recurring theme of articles in The Blanket is addressed to the repressive measures meted out to republicans critical of the Good Friday Agreement. The perpetrators as might otherwise be expected are not always the British who favour the agreement but those who subscribe to state republicanism. Since the agreement was signed in 1998 the list of republicans who have been threatened, intimidated, brutalised or killed has continued to grow. Paddy Fox in Tyrone, Greg Trainor and John Nixon in Armagh, Kevin Perry in Downpatrick, Joe O’Connor in Ballymurphy, Mickey Donnelly in Derry, Marian Price and Tommy Gorman in West Belfast, a range of members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, members of Republican Sinn Fein …

In January an article featuring in this journal, Hammering Dissent, dealt with the case of a young Downpatrick republican who was shot and beaten by the Provisional IRA. At the time we did not speak with the victim, his parents instead expressing their abhorrence at the attack on their son. Despite Sinn Fein attempts at intimidating them into remaining silent, Francie and Geraldine Perry defied the local power structure. It was not an easy choice to make. Geraldine in particular, despite her obvious determination, was fired with nervous tension, the stress visible in her demeanour. But refusing to be cowered into a corner both she and her husband spoke openly and with no small measure of courage. They were aware of the technologies of power that could be used against them but the need to protect their children was stronger than any fear that such technologies may have roused in them. And while later, Francie Perry felt compelled to issue a statement challenging a whispering campaign being mounted against his family by Sinn Fein, both parents had hoped that with Kevin hospitalised the worst had come to pass and that he would be subjected to no further attacks.

What peace of mind they had managed to acquire since their son’s release from hospital was shattered earlier this week. Kevin was visited by a number of state republicans and told to make himself available at local shops. He refused to go. Knowing that the standard procedure in such arrangements is for the assailants to strip the victim and inflict humiliation on him in the manner of the H-Block screws, Kevin broke his silence and talked to The Blanket.

There is no way I am turning up to be humiliated and degraded by those people. To be hooded and made to stand with my trousers around my ankles for them to sit and laugh. If they wish to talk with me they can see me at home. If they really wanted to speak to me why didn’t they do it last December when they came to my home? They talk with guns and hammers. I don’t agree with them, don’t support what they are doing but at the end of the day I just want to get on with my life. My family have lived in fear since the shooting and beating last year.

When asked why he thought his assailants had come back almost six months after the attack on him, he stated that:

nothing has occurred since between me and them. It is simply about them wanting to let me know that they are still the boss, that they have the power to send for me when it suits them; that if I am a good boy in their eyes and keep my views to myself they will ignore me. But if I speak out or disagree with any of them then I know what is in store for me.

If state republicans have any confidence in their own position, they should express it openly. If their case is strong they will see the numbers of those who criticise the strategy which they endorse shrink in number. Rather than fearing critique they should welcome it, viewing it as the pores through which any living political project can breathe. But the manner in which they seek to suppress those within the republican community opposed to their position suggests a doubt about the merit of the path they are pursuing. The dead hand of leadership-imposed censorship cannot stifle every thought. Has the experience of the totalitarian states of Eastern Europe and South America not demonstrated that the more determined power is to murder those who critique it, the more convinced of the need to critique it such opponents become?




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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



I have spent
many years of my life
in opposition, and
I rather like the role.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Index: Current Articles

12 June 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Crippling Critique
Anthony McIntyre


Joy or Death
Aine Fox


Telling it like it is

Anna Livia FM, Transcript


The Conveyer Belt of Informers



World Exclusive!
Jimmy Sands


Connolly and Republican Socialist Organisational Strategy
Liam O Ruairc


9 June 2003


Money's Worth
Terry O'Neill


Connolly: National Liberation, Socialism and Partition
Liam O Ruairc


Pauperizing the Periphery
M. Shahid Alam


Democracy, eh?

Davy Carlin


Polluting People's Lives

Barbara Muldoon


The Gags of Prejudice
Anthony McIntyre




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The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
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