More rubbish about World War I

I see our estemmed Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, has added his voice to those seeking to rehabilitate the Irishmen who fought in World War I. Actually, in his case, he is more seeking to rehabilitate those with a nationalist bent who fought in World War I.

It is also right to recognise in the period ahead the sacrifice of those Irishmen who fought in the First World War. While some may question the value of their actions no one can set aside the scale of the loss or doubt the personal tragedy.
Republicans have no wish to erase the memory of their bravery or their part in Irish history. Many working class Irishmen fought in the British Army at that time because of the unrelenting poverty that they and their families experienced. Their motivation and their experience were articulated by Tom Kettle, an Irish National Volunteer, who shortly before his death at the Somme in September 1916 wrote these lines to his daughter:
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
Died not for Flag, nor King, nor Emperor,
But for a dream, born in a herdsman’s shed,
And for the Secret Scripture of the poor.
Among the courageous Irishmen who gave their lives in that war also were those who fully believed in their actions and the choices they took. Their sacrifice and their loss are no less worthy of remembrance.
The experiences of republicans, nationalists, unionists and all others form part of our collective memory. They are part of who we are as a community, as a nation.
While we must remember these events we also must critically engage with our past. The past one hundred years, while a fraction of the life of the nation, was taken up by partition, divergence, exclusion and conflict.
These failures must be consigned to the past. I believe that Ireland is now set on a course towards unity, convergence, inclusion, and lasting peace.
This is not a bland aspiration. In this way we will deliver equality, prosperity and reconciliation for all our people in all their diversity. In this way we will build a nation of which our children can be proud and a republic worthy of the name.

I couldn’t be bothered going on a long rant about this, but let me make a couple of points. Firstly, I’m amused that whoever wrote this speech saw no problem in citing Kettle’s clearly Catholic religious nationalism. Which in itself is enough to make one puke, rather than engage a desire to emulate it and respect it. Secondly, who cares if people believed in what they were fighting for? That doesn’t make it right. I’m tempted to break Godwin’s Law here as a fine example, but I’m sure we could all come up with answers closer to home. And lastly, some visual aids about what these people were really fighting for.

As I believe the saying goes,

Down with Imperialism!


6 Responses to “More rubbish about World War I”

  1. Justin Says:

    Absolutely spot on, Garibaldy. I read the whole thing on Sinn Fein Keep Left (who has no problems with the speech) and it struck me as being about as far from socialist republicanism as you could get. The first world war was an imperialist carve-up and a bloodbath.

    Saying it with Lenin:
    “The European and world war has the clearly defined character of a bourgeois, imperialist and dynastic war. A struggle for markets and for freedom to loot foreign countries, a striving to suppress the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and democracy in the individual countries, a desire to deceive, disunite, and slaughter the proletarians of all countries by setting the wage slaves of one nation against those of another so as to benefit the bourgeoisie—these are the only real content and significance of the war.”

    I can’t imagine Marty coming out with something like that.

  2. Garibaldy Says:

    Thanks for that Justin. I agree entirely that this sort of stuff has nothing to do with republicanism in Ireland, nor with socialism anywhere. Liked the Lenin quote. Straight to the reality of the matter.

  3. Mick Hall Says:

    Dreadful stuff, what next, support for NATO’s war in Afghanistan, it seems for the likes of McG, the main enemy is no longer at home.

  4. Garibaldy Says:

    Well he’s already been out in Iraq Mick, so Afghanistan mightn’t be as far-fetched as you think.

    I hadn’t seen those maps before I decided to look for them for this post. They really do drive the point about an imperialist war home.

    Hope you’re well.

  5. Martin Mc Guiness snuggles up to British Militarism. Says:

    […] is more seeking to rehabilitate those with a nationalist bent who fought in World War I…." More rubbish about World War I Garibaldy Blog __________________ "And the radio said there is another shot dead and died with a gun in his […]

  6. The Wood for the Trees. Another Massive Leap for Progress. Or, More Ignoring of Imperialism. « The Cedar Lounge Revolution Says:

    […] me absolutely nuts (previous rants include this against Myers, this in praise of Nadine Coyle, and this. Usually we are spared this rubbish apart from the run-up to November 11th, but Belfast City […]

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