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Remembrance daze January 14, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Some very very odd comments BTL on this from Brian Hanley, an excellent piece yesterday in the IT which critiques the idea that the RIC and DMP were ‘normal’ police forces. What is particularly striking is how uninterested in the actual history many of those who are proponents of commemoration are, and how unwilling they are to detach the individuals within those organisations and remembrance of same from the organisations themselves. It really is an article of faith for some of those commenters that any criticism of the idea of these events is simple atavistic nationalism (or in the case of some of them a frankly pathological anti-Sinn Féin attitude) rather than a measured response given the nature of those organisations. There’s no end of cultural cringe and stuff along the lines of ‘we’ve disgraced ourselves yet again’.

Which makes the papers relating to a cancelled proposed attendance of the then British PM, John Major, at a Famine commemoration service in 1996 so telling.

“Whatever we say, such a service, never mind your attendance at it, would look like an apology. These events happened 150 years ago. They are history. This is not equivalent to the Taoiseach’s attendance at the War Memorial on VE Day. The Unionist reaction can be imagined. And it would not satisfy the Nationalists. More likely, it would revive arguments about whether the UK should apologise, and add controversy to President Robinson’s visit,” [one British civil servant] wrote.

You betcha! Difficult to believe there’d be this level of soul searching in the British media over something like this.

Comments»

1. Pangurbán - January 14, 2020

Irish history lives in an anglophone bubble it would be interesting to see if and how the French state commemorates Vichy: when the allies conquered vichy Syria in 1941 the vast majority of the Vichy troops opted for POW status in preference to joining De Gaulle. It’s also interesting to note how local SS veterans are now commemorated as war heroes in the Baltic States

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Joe - January 14, 2020

“when the allies conquered vichy Syria in 1941 the vast majority of the Vichy troops opted for POW status in preference to joining De Gaulle.”
I’ve never been in an army or fought in a war. I wouldn’t like to. I’d speculate that the motivation of men who preferred to be POWs rather than join De Gaulle’s army might have been that they didn’t want to fight further in any shitty war. They’d just been defeated and they’d probably seen their comrades killed and injured; their morale was low; so they opted out rather than back in.
I remember reading on here, I think it was WBS who referred to it, that most of the French soldiers who were evacuated to England from Dunkirk opted to return to occupied France in the immediate period after Dunkirk. They went home rather than join De Gaulle’s army.
Not making any point here but it’s interesting.

As to Baltic states commemorating SS veterans as war heroes, fook them.

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WorldbyStorm - January 14, 2020

Yeah, I cannot really envisage the French state commemorating the Vichy institutions, whatever about some caught up within them. In fact I’d bet it is those who resisted who will be commemorated. I think Joe you’re right re the POWs. Re problematic stuff like Latvia those are not official commemorations as far as can be made out.

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Jim Monaghan - January 14, 2020

Ah yes. Inclusivity https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vel%27_d%27Hiv_Roundup The Paris police changed sideas as LeClerc’s division entered Paris.And they did not change their ways. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_massacre_of_1961

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2. CL - January 14, 2020

“This significant and provocative book raises many questions about history-writing in Ireland….
Regan’s contention is that since 1968 Irish historians have laboured under the burden of what he terms ‘an ethno-religious civil war’. As a result of this, he claims, many historians produced work designed to legitimise the southern Irish state against the threat of insurgency, some of them deliberately ignoring or misusing historical evidence that might have bolstered contrary views….
Regan’s worries about patronage and power within academia are shared by many in the profession, and he is surely right to suggest that ‘society is better served by historians who are free to write about the past, much as they find it’.”
-Brian Hanley, review of John M. Regan’s ‘ Myth and the Irish State.
https://www.historyireland.com/book-reviews/myth-irish-state/

“In 1867… the Irish Constabulary earned its ‘Royal’ prefix by suppressing Fenian rebellion. And yet from a 1976 textbook we learn that ‘Sinn Féin leaders encouraged republicans to regard the RIC, not as the friendly local figures they often were, but as the eyes and ears of the British presence in Ireland’, which judgement, surely, reveals a good deal more about the politics of the 1970s—when the ‘polemical tone and subtext’ of historical discourse ‘owed much to the toxic atmosphere of the Troubles’—than about those of the 1920s.”
https://www.historyireland.com/book-reviews/23549/-James Smyth

“In Ireland, however, the dominant approach continued to be based on revising and destroying the traditional nationalist view of history. This approach became known as ‘revisionism’. As the IRA campaign intensified, revisionism gained a new prominence, in the battle for Irish hearts and minds, and challenging nationalist mythology became an important ideological preoccupation of a new generation of historians. A number of leading academics justified this construction on the grounds that IRA violence was linked directly with nationalist myths, although empirical evidence has been less forthcoming….
A key objective of Irish revisionism was to exorcise the ghost of nationalism from historical discourse and to replace it with historical narratives that persistently played down the separateness and the trauma, and derided the heroes and villains of Irish history. However, this declared determination of revisionism to destroy the ‘myths and untruths’ of populist historical consciousness has also limited the ability of revisionists to construct an alternative view of Irish history.”
https://www.historyireland.com/18th-19th-century-history/beyond-revisionism-reassessing-the-great-irish-famine/

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3. CL - January 14, 2020

“Ferriter himself should have called out the troll historians who conflated the RIC with the Black and Tans”-Eoghan Harris.

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/eoghan-harris-on-ric-controversy-time-will-show-charlie-flanagan-did-the-right-thing-twice-38854167.html

“The Specials are also part of the story of the RIC, based in RIC barracks and operating alongside the police…While some have maintained that it was never intended to commemorate the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries, in reality it is impossible to remember the RIC and not include these forces”-Brian Hanley

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/the-ric-was-never-a-normal-police-force-commemorating-it-would-be-a-travesty-1.4136031

Recommendation to the government from the Expert Advisory Group:

“Consideration should be given to the organisation of specific events to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP)”

“Ferriter clarified today the nature of the EAG’s recommendation, saying:
“The EAG did not recommend or endorse the idea of a formal state commemoration for the RIC in the manner proposed.”
https://www.thejournal.ie/diarmaid-ferriter-ric-commemoration-4956212-Jan2020/

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4. CL - January 14, 2020

“Following the Sinn Fein lead, they were out in force last week, north and south, because Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan had had the effrontery to plan an event at Dublin Castle to remember those who served in the Royal Irish Constabulary and the Dublin Metropolitan Police from 1822 and 1836 respectively until 1922 and independence.

Most of them were Irish Catholics, of whom many were constitutional nationalists. Their job was to keep the peace in their communities..

He had reckoned without the blind hatred which one can find in unexpected quarters and the malevolence of social media in spreading fake news and foam-flecked comparisons between the police and the Nazis…

I was one of those who found it impossible to persuade critics that what was involved was a commemoration, not a celebration, and that there was no intention of including the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries, who were bolted onto the RIC at a time of carnage and, in many cases, behaved appallingly.”-
https://www.ruthdudleyedwards.co.uk/2020/01/why-extremists-on-republican-side-only-hurt-cause-they-hold-dear-with-their-intolerant-ways/

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