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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Taking the Peace

Ireland's newest paper, the super soaraway People's Observer (Feachadoir an Phobail) proudly presents their newest columnist, Jimmy Sands



Jimmy Sands • 24 February 2005

Let me begin by congratulating all my good friends at the Angrytown News, especially Mairtin O Milliunai on what is surely the most significant launch in the history of Irish publishing. How they were able to raise the funding necessary in such a short space of time for such an ambitious project, and on time, is something I will never know. We can only be grateful to them as well as to those fine folk at the Bulgarian Finance Ministry that the media neglect of the republican movement is finally at an end.

It seems that every time I come to pen a column the enemies of the peace process are at it again, trying to undermine the search for peace and justice. It would appear that our enemies wish to do to us now what they failed to do during the Hunger Strikes © - that is to criminalise us. The pretext of course was the robbery of the Northern Bank in December. Out of all the many organisations who could have carried out a large scale paramilitary cross-border operation involving hostage taking in Poleglass followed by extensive money laundering, for some inexplicable reason the police decided to blame the IRA. Remarkably the accusations persisted even after the IRA had clearly pointed out, not once but twice, that they had not been involved. Even this was not enough for our critics and so several of our leading political figures volunteered to assess this denial and expressed the view that in their opinion the denial was accurate. All this at a time when the IRA had made the unprecedented offer explicitly to do something really quite significant indeed. Gerry Adams has even been accused of having links to the IRA, a suggestion he was forced once again to deny while taking the salute at Strabane on the weekend. Let me make one thing clear. I accept that mistakes have been made and that many disagree with some of the methods that some of us used from time to time to prosecute the war, to raise funds or, occasionally, to get a date; however, to call these things crimes simply denies the legitimacy of our struggle. We will not dishonour the memory of those ten brave men by accepting the oppressor's definitions of "crime" "theft" or "unlawful carnal knowledge".

The main architect of this campaign is Michael McDowell of course. As we have repeatedly pointed out he has been a consistent opponent of the peace process and is also only doing this in response to our recent successes. The Irish people must not allow the future of the country to be hijacked by a fringe party which, remember, has only 8 seats in the Dail. Nor should we allow policy to be dictated by the sort of control freak who wants to regulate when people can drink or what they choose to burn in their gardens. Even the People's Observer has become the subject of his scurrilous accusations. Enough is enough. The management has taken legal advice and has decided to stand up to him. Our lawyers tell us that to even consider bringing a libel action against a serving Minister, we would need to have money to burn. Instead, we have made a list of all the times he has made rude remarks about us and have sent it to the Taoiseach to let him know what his Minister gets up to when he's supposed to be working.

On a lighter note, in my other capacity as the PO's food and drink critic, it is my privilege to give our recommendation for the week, and the award, together with a gift certificate courtesy of Davison's Butchers and Laundromat, goes deservedly to Magennis' Bar and Carvery. I had the opportunity to road test the facilities a couple of weeks back with some friends from Alex Maskey's election team and they could not have been more helpful. To give you an example, one of the lads was complaining that he was going to miss Desperate Housewives and the staff offered to tape it for him over one of their own security tapes. I also have to complement them on their hygiene, it is without doubt the cleanest pub I think I've ever seen. Also, a little known fact is that Magennis' has the most extensive bathroom facilities in Belfast, with a toilet capable of accommodating up to 73 people simultaneously. Some of the customers tell me when they tell people that, the response is one of complete disbelief.

As republicans of course I tell them that this week we know how that feels, don't we?





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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.
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Index: Current Articles

24 February 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

The Socialist Objection and Alternative
Eamonn McCann

Taking the Peace
Jimmy Sands

Life Amongst the Proveau Riche
Brian Mór

A Far Cry from the Hunger Strikers' Sacrifices
Anthony McIntyre

Tragic Legacy
Mick Hall

Some Economic Results of the Civilizing Mission
M. Shahid Alam

21 February 2005

Time to Go
Anthony McIntyre

Stand Together in Pursuit of Justice for Robert
Catherine McCartney

The Murder of Eoin Morely
Ivan Morely

Exclusion Orders
Brian Mór

The 'Gud Auld' Days
Dr John Coulter

The Courage of Ward Churchill
Ghali Hassan

Awaiting the Prisoner of Zion From Within Israel's First Circle
Mary La Rosa



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