Friday, 13 March 2009

Fundamentalist ideology causes terror - not the British government or unionists

I suppose, given what has happened in the intervening period, terrorism in Northern Ireland now seems neither as exceptional, nor as novel, as it appeared to much of the world in 1998. It is a regrettable change of context, but in the United Kingdom, in the rest of Europe, indeed throughout the world, fundamentalist ideologues, prepared to kill and maim for the advancement of their dogma, comprise the ‘threat within’ with which societies have become accustomed to coexisting. The Islamist terror which imperils much of the world is primarily viewed as derivative of religious fundamentalism, and the doctrines advanced by republicans are nominally political, but both murderous republicans and murderous Islamists are driven by fanatical adherence to the orthodoxies of their respective ideologies.

In order to counter Islamist extremism, measures were introduced in 2006 to make encouraging terrorism an offence. Websites, and groups which exist around the fringes of terror, have arguably acquired increased allure for disaffected Muslim youth as a consequence. Similarly a slew of pages on social networking sites are presently adorned with dissident republican imagery, slogans and taunting messages referring to the recent killings in Northern Ireland. Youthful rebellion has rarely been so morally unpleasant. I have briefly inspected entire interwoven Bebo networks containing this material. There is no point in providing links. But clearly, amongst a certain milieu, cheerleading murder involves little stigma, indeed it carries a certain social cachet.

Neither does it require much patience or application to locate the grubbier environs of the republican blogosphere, where last weeks murders have been greeted with qualification rather than condemnation. Whilst Anthony McIntyre’s ‘Pensive Quill’ (its writing is as overwrought as the title suggests) adjudges the killings futile, it pronounces the ‘operation’ successful and praises it as ‘courageous and imaginative’! I’m afraid your eyes are not deceiving you. McIntyre’s own inverted commas not withstanding, he has hailed the point blank shooting of five unarmed young men, two of whom were delivering pizzas, as an act of courage and imagination.

Moving down the food chain (if you can bear the misspelling and mangled syntax) ‘Organised Rage’ carries a blogpost which bristles with ideological absolutism. The piece echoes other commenters on Slugger, who genuinely believe that unionists and the British government should bear the lion's share of culpability for last week’s murders. Under the dismissive title ‘The death of two British Tommy’s (sic) and a Plod doing his duty’, the author begins by denying that the killings constitute crimes at all. Declining to succumb to the republican imperative, the British government (in league with unionists) has failed to keep political momentum inexorably moving towards a united Ireland. This constitutes a moral abrogation, an offence against nature, who knows what else. It renders the murder of policemen and soldiers as inevitable as the eventual 32 county utopia which we will all one day be proud to call home.

This noxious, scattergun rant even manages to hint that Sappers Azimkar, Quinsey and Constable Carroll might well have been casualties of the ‘progressive’ struggle to get rid of the 11 plus! The central implication is that republicans cannot be held accountable for their actions unless a constant stream of concessions is granted to them and to their community.

All of which is couched in the type of infantile, class struggle rhetoric normally confined to episodes of ‘The Young Ones’. Insofar as unionism is considered at all, it is either a monolithic enemy of the preordained path of progress, or it doesn’t know what’s good for it. Either way it is more to blame for the ‘political acts’ which dissident republicans are committing than the terrorists themselves.

“Whilst Britain holds a part of Ireland by force of arms, there will be Irish people who will oppose them with arms.”

Except Britain does not hold any 'part of Ireland by force of arms’. Part of Ireland remains within the United Kingdom because a majority of its people wish it to remain within the United Kingdom. The impediment which prevents people from recognising this is unblinking, unquestioning dogma.

Whereas it is generally recognised within Britain and elsewhere that ranting from the lunatic fringe of Islam is anathema to civilised debate, dissident republican views have been disseminated on mainstream politics websites and by publishing houses with little compunction. Even in the wake of brutal murder these people have not had pause to interrogate the tenets of their dogma. It is so much easier to blame everyone else.


buster said...

Are you surprised Chekov? The nub of the nationalist/republican agenda has always been the promotion of a narrow, bigotted, monocultural and monochrome ideology of "we ourselves". No amount of cant, hyperbole or imaginative window dressing nor frantic re-invention will ever change that. There remains a large body of people on this island who will not be happy until those who they regard as either a. misguided and/or b. illegal squatters are removed and/or silenced. At the core it is as simple as that and always has been.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Buster. However, what can be done to change that bar going against the democractically expressed wishes of the majority of people in Northern Ireland??