I have tried very hard not to get involved in this thread but somehow the ignorance displayed by what appears to me American's of Irish extraction draws me reluctantly like a moth to a flame. In the distant past I did respond to a post on a similar subject and I got responses from (I think) Big Mick spitting venom - for various reason's I felt unwilling to respond - the venue for one - but mostly the horrific memories it brings back to me.
The original start of this thread was about Bobby Sands a man I admire for his beliefs and personal courage but degenerated into the usual ill-informed debate - usually from people far removed from the hard realities of thier rhetoric.
I love Ireland, her people and music and I have lived there - my experiences of twenty odd years ago have haunted me ever since - hardly a week sometimes every day goes by without a nightmare.
The thing that strikes me about most of the posts that seek to glorify or justify actions of the IRA is that you wern't there - it's different when you are in the bars singing songs to the hero's to when you are shovelling up the intestines of men, women and children.
I'm English and as it happens I really don't give a shit whether Northern Ireland stays part of the UK or Eire but we are supposed to be a democracy and we have a system to change our government.
I have a lot of sympathy for the idea of a re-united Ireland, it makes a logical sense to me - I just take issue with the methods of the IRA (to name but one organization)to achieve or prevent it.
Let me try to explain - it is hard for me as normally I'm a rational articulate individual - but this subject ties me in knots and it doesn't always come out well.
I'm English but did live in Ireland on several occasions I have never actually served in the Armed Forces but for a while worked with both Armed Forces, RUC, GARDA and the other emergency services.
I attended the scene of 132 bomb and "other" incidents caused by IRA UDF UVF and the Army - each and every one etched on my memory - I can still smell them as if I was still there twenty odd years ago. The resulting 30+ years of carnage was never worth the candle. The general population of Ireland North and South didn't believe it was worth it and still don't - bigots and zealots from both sides of the divide would argue against me - but don't try and tell me that the mass of the people do I won't believe you.
The people of Ireland have long memories and are patient - demographics would have achieved the same aim's in the same timetable.
I draw no distinction between the IRA, UDA, UVF or whatever set of initials you care to have - they were terrorist organizations - pure and simple - I understand the principle of "One man's terrorist another's freedom fighter" ie. if he's on thier side he's a terrorist - but to claim that ANY of these organizations was not terrorist in nature defies both logic and fact. The AIM of these organizations was to TERRORIZE - pure and simple - the IRA at least attacked the British Army regularily as well but they DID bomb pubs, clubs, shops in both N.Ireland and England purely to terrorise. I have seen the reaction of men & women shitting and pissing themselves with fear and aborting thier babies, rooted to the spot, not knowing where to turn in case they had been deliberately led into and ambush with a second bomb - it did happen on many occasions - I was there and I saw it many times caused from both sides IRA/UDA/UVF - it wasn't all propoganda - try telling me these people weren't terrorised I won't belive you.
Explain what military objective was achieved by such actions?
The aim was to make the British Government and people so sickened and fed up with N.Ireland as to achieve the IRA's aims - I have no problem or misunderstanding of the intention, why can you not at least admit it? - I simply take issue with the methods and results.
Big Mick and the others are correct on several points though regarding deeds on both sides of the line. Torture did take place on both the government side and IRA/UDA/UVF factions but you appear to have selective memories - OBU as you like to quote documented cases go and look in your records and tell me that the IRA did not torture Robert Nairac and then shoot him - one of the men involved later said that he was the bravest man he had ever met - please deny this.
Yes the Army did make mistakes and did kill innocent men and women - as did the other side - but an Army is a blunt instrument for this type of situation and many were young frightened soldiers ill-equipped and trained at first for the task given them - most of the regretable incidents happened early on.
I am no bleeding heart liberal - I believe there are times that war and fighting are justified - I just don't think the situation in Ireland justified the carnage and pain - all the bombs and bullets achieved nothing - ultimately, as in any war the talking achieved the aims not the bullets.
I have no religion and after seeing what the religious of either persuasion were capable of never will. I don't care what God you worship or what politics you subscribe too - the sight of a severed little girl's hand with fingers crossed lying on the sidetable - cannot be justified by any arguments I have yet seen put forward.
You can have you point of view but at least have the honesty to admit what really happened - don't give us your drivel from a bar stool in a "Shamrock Bar" in Boston or where ever - believe me It's real different when you are slipping in the spilled blood rather than the black stuff.
Sorry if I have offended anyone with the tone - I much prefer to talk about music here really - but Christmas is a bad time with too many memories.
Peace to you all with the coming of the Millennium. Bev Lawton