Thursday, 18 December 2008

Education Minister lauds terror role model to school children

If it weren’t about Ruane you might greet this little gem with incredulity. Mark Devenport reports that the poorest member of a poor executive attended prize giving at St Colm’s High School in Poleglass in her capacity as Education Minister. In her remarks she then proceeded to stress the gratitude which students should feel toward IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands, who had paved the way for their brighter future!

So there we have it. A minister in Northern Ireland’s government abusing her position in order to commend as a role model to children a terrorist who starved himself to death. Simply shameful.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disgusting. Pure Filth.

Stonemason said...

Shame on her, does she represent the quality of leadership in Ulster ?

yourcousin said...

Not that I'm a huge fan of Ruane, but couldn't it be spun as a praising a youth from the humble origins of Belfast who rose to the height of MP and icon for one of the two traditions of the North?

Safiya Outlines said...

I've actually been teaching my husband (who's Syrian)a fair bit about the history of the Ireland and the Troubles. But I haven't got round to the Hunger Strikers yet. I don't he'd be able to comprehend 1)The concept of a dirty protest and 2)That some people view them as heroes.

Chekov said...

"Not that I'm a huge fan of Ruane, but couldn't it be spun as a praising a youth from the humble origins of Belfast who rose to the height of MP and icon for one of the two traditions of the North?"

No. It is disgusting.

yourcousin said...

Really nothing? Not even the contextualization of the start of the political process and the eventual waning of violence in favor of politicals means which have ultimately brought peace to NI? I don't really care one way or the other, but I'm just curious.

Anonymous said...

yourcousin trying to take the disgusting abhorrent sting out of political suicide by criminals.

yourcousin said...

Anon,
If thinking that that's what I'm doing gets you through the day then more power to you. For me Ireland and its history are an intellectual exercise. I'm not tied in any way to either tradition in Northern Ireland so I don't feel the need to jump onto one side of the fence or the other. As Frank A. Clark once said,

"We find comfort among those who agree with us-growth among those who don't"

That is my only reason for asking questions that at times are out of place. I try to maintain open mindedness, admit my mistakes and keep it civil. As long as those criteria are met I see no reason not to neddle things from time to time.

Jeffrey Peel said...

Yourcousin, you are implicitly claiming some type of intellectual superiority by trying to remain aloof - by claiming to be outside the tribal swamp. But surely, at an emotional, human level you must know that it is entirely inappropriate for a government Minister to laud someone who starved himself to death on the basis of a spurious political motivation. Moreover, he was part of an organisation that claimed legitimacy for Irishman killing Irishman in the name of justice and freedom. Ruane was praising/iconising someone who believed that violence was the only means of achieving political ends. We have few political role models for children in Northern Ireland. But I can saw with complete certainly, and without need to reference any type of community identity, that a self-destroying man of violence is no icon.

yourcousin said...

I am not claiming any sort of intellectual superiority in regards to Northern Ireland, indeed my intellect has never been anything to laude (spelling?)over. You claim that on any level the views espoused by Sands and his cohorts are spurious. Now that may or may not be the case but the fact that a large portion of NI disagrees is reason to stop and take pause. I'm sorry but these comments are not thought out political positions, but emotional takes on the subject. That doesn't inherently invalidate them but you'll excuse if I want to dig a little deeper.

I won't pretend to speak to for the nationalist/republican community but I would argue that their position is not to say that "only" violence was the acceptable way to bring about change but that it was/is legitimate. They felt/feel that within NI that the context allowed for legitimate exercise of violence. I'm not here to argue that point, I'll simply direct you to Balrog and wish you luck. My point is only to say it is not so clear cut and dry.

Jeffry, you cite purely human emotions as my compass as to whether or not Sands was or wasn't iconic. My emotions have nothing to do with it. The fact that Sands face covers the Falls road SF HQ where five out of the six MLAs come from SF is proof enough that he is indeed an icon for good, bad, or otherwise. My point is that to try to say otherwise with complaints and things about glorifying terrorism is non-sense. I'm not saying Sands was an icon but that to simply cite him as a suicidal terrorist is a gross simplification.

Again my human emotions would tell me that thrity year insurgencies don't spring out of nowhere and that ten men don't just starve themselves to death and get elected to parliament for nothing. That very question as to why ten men starved themselves to death is what lead me on my odessy of discovery in regards to NI and its politics. And to be quite honest I still don't have the answers I'm looking for. I think I understand why they did it but I don't know. I brought the intellectual point into it because I know what it means to have an emotional involvement in things. Because if A,B, or C happened to me or mine then I would believe X,Y, or Z. This has happened to me and mine and the fact that my family has lived under Soviet rule goes a long way to explain what Chekov would proclaim as Russophobia in my positions in regards to Russia. But then again his family has never been murdered by Russian soldiers for trying to stop the Soviet army from stealing their livestock etc. I would view things no differently for Ireland and those who lived there. If I had family murdered by the IRA or the RUC etc. it would definitely color my opinions, but that fact alone is not enough to make the entire argument. It can legitimately color the argument but it cannot make the sole point of someone's argument which is why I sometimes ask these questions and take rhetorical stands.

Ruane has no need to turn Sands into an icon as he already is one and her stance is completely consistent with SF policy and rhetoric. One needn't like it but then again all of the major parties have signed onto power sharing which means that terrorists (former and otherwise) will be in government and while Chekov is more than happy to rail against the fact that nationalists have to fully appreciate the idea of the issue of consent it is equally ridiculuous to expect that SF will suddenly drop their republican rhetoric due to the fact that their in government now. That is my only point and that things in NI can be spun any number of ways. Indeed that is the only reason that politics have finally overcome violence as the means of political expression.

yourcousin said...

Sorry, should read "they're in government..." Certainly SF are in not in possession of the government no matter how much they might wish it to be the case.

yourcousin said...

Shit, a typo in my apology post for a typo. I'm going to strike that one up to a little extra holiday cheer.