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Think Tanks, Reunions and Medals

George Young • 17 October 2004

I am reliably informed that Sinn Fein and the Republican Army are going to be setting up "think tanks" to discuss the way forward for the people who will effectively, become ex-volunteers, once their final act of decommissioning has taken place and the IRA is stood down.

I am told that they are spending vast amounts of money in setting up reunions in hotels all around the country for ex-members and current members to air their views on the leadership's decision to stand down their private army and thereby remove any excuse for the Unionist parties not to involve themselves in the discussions, with regard to the Peace Process.

Reports state that these get togethers are going to culminate in one massive all Ireland PIRA rally for former Republican prisoners, which promotes the question, why only former prisoners? (I have to wonder where all the money is coming from anyway, oil, maybe?)

Is it the case, that if you were falsely imprisoned, and a whole lot of Republicans were, or were arrested while involved in an operation, that you are more highly thought of, than someone who was never arrested or imprisoned? (Strange criteria?)

It is also widely rumoured, that special medals are being minted to be presented to all of the ex-volunteers who performed in active service from nineteen seventy until the present day, which also promotes a few questions.

Apart from being an ex-prisoner, what will the qualification for the award of such a medal, be?

Will there be different medals for different ranks?

Does it mean that Martin will receive one and Gerry won't, as Gerry has always denied being a member of the said army, but then, perhaps that's where the prisoner angle comes in, well, that is something that Gerry could never deny being.

What about the people who were killed by the security forces while on active service, or even the ones who were not on active sevice, but were killed as part of the Brits' shoot to kill policy, will they be awarded posthumously?

What about the families of Ten Dead Men? Will there be a special medal for wives, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, who had to watch and endure, while their loved ones died, slow agonizing deaths?

Will there be an extra special medal for Paddy Magee, because according to the bold Paddy, on his yearly tours on the anniversary of the Brighton bombing, his actions did more to bring about the Good Friday Agreement, than anyone's. (A sin to aswer for?)

Will there be medals for the Sinn Fein volunteers, Mary Lou McDonald, Bairbre de Brun and the volunteer from the RUC, (whose name escapes me at the present moment, just goes to show how interested I am, in the membership of Sinn Fein.) I mean, the guy from the RUC must have saw active service, albeit he was probably shooting at us, at the time, but does that really matter?

What about Scap? Will he be able to return from his hideaway somewhere in Europe, to rapturous applause from the attending faithful, to receive his award, as surely, he, along with others in the upper echelons of the Republican movement did more to bring about the defeat of the Republican Army and thereby facilitate the Good Friday Agreement, than anyone.

Or even Raymond Gilmour, wouldn't he be entitled to a medal? Well, he did serve in the Republican Army in the years stipulated and did see active service, so why shouldn't Ray turn up to receive his gong?

Could I just say, that, I believe that Sinn Fein have learned an awful lot from the Brits in the ten years of eating scraps from their table.

Firstly, they have learned that the people whom you are elected to represent only matter when it is time to re-elect you.

And, secondly, that there is nothing to quite get the masses more excited than a good old fashioned award ceremony, just look at the Oscars or the BAFTA's. Pomp and Circumstance, jingoism and jamborees, it doesn't matter whether you win or lose, it is the taking part that matters. Even if you lose, never admit to it, just have a massive party and pretend to everyone that, although it appears that you lost, you actually won, and to reinforce the myth, issue everyone who took part in the campaign with a medal, so that in the years to come they will be able to show it to their grandchildren and say "I fought in the war and we won, see, look at the medal I received, you don't get medals for losing."

But, believe me when I say this, we did lose the war and we lost it due mainly to a leadership, (not them all), who were cutting deals with the enemy long before any discussion had taken place amongst the rank and file as to whether we would even accept discussions on a ceasefire.

So, one final question that I feel must be asked. How many, hand on the heart Republicans, do you think will accept an invitation to their synthetic awards ceremony?

I know one, who definitely won't.






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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

21 October 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Think Tanks, Reunions and Medals
George Young

Tribute to George
Bernadette McAliskey

Aspects of British Propaganda during the War of Independence
Mags Glennon

Born Iron, Living Free
Marc Kerr

Arise Ye Bored and Read Again
Anthony McIntyre

Blame Orange Order But Buck Stops with British Crown
Father Sean Mc Manus

Capt. Kelly Campaign Update
Fionbarra O'Dochartaigh

None of the Above
Fred A. Wilcox

Reflections On Swift Boats and Slow Wits
Peter Urban

Street Seen, Making the Invisible Visible
Press Release

Paying Our Condolences in Salem
Daphne Banai

The Israeli Invasion of North Gaza
Jennifer Loewenstein

15 October 2004

Intimidation Continues in Rathenraw
Anthony McIntyre

Mick Hall

Choosing the Green
Liam O Ruairc

Anti-Racism Network Rally
ARN Steering Committee

A Coversation with Gerry Adams
Paul de Rooij



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