My grandfather was once upon a time an insurgent, an Irish
insurgent, who always felt a kinship with American Indians,
Palestinians and Vietnamese.enemy combatants all.
I have no doubt that if he were alive today, he'd feel that same
kinship with many of the Iraqi and Afghan insurgents trying to
repel their Anglo-American invaders and occupiers.
Here are some of the things he told me.
When he was 16 years old (circa 1921) he was walking to school one
morning along the Dockside Road just outside the village of Tarbert
in North Kerry. The road followed along the south side bank of the
River Shannon very near the Limerick County line. It was the main
road from North Kerry into Limerick City and still pretty much is
A British lorry full of rifle toting soldiers drove by coming back
from their well known local where they regularly hung out until
morning and started shooting at my grandfather for the hell of it.
Whether they missed intentionally or not -my grandfather didn't
know but they scared the hell out of him just the same and he ran
home seared forever by the experience which propelled him to
support the then IRA.
What those soldiers didn't know was that my grandfather was the son
of a British Navy veteran. My great grandfather was by then a
retired Chief Petty Officer with over twenty years of service who
barely survived the Boer War and the Battle of Jutland and was
despite being very Irish very pro-British.
But so what, nits still make lice... after all what chance Brit
soldiers then or now firing at English school boys in England for
the hell of it?
That night, local IRA people came to my grandfather's house to
investigate this British gun shooting incident the word about which
had already spread locally. After my grandfather told them what
happened, they asked him to bring his hunting rifle and a shovel
and to join them on a ditch digging adventure. Off they went in the
middle of the night and dug a big hole in a strategic part of a
road not far from that pub and covered it with sticks and grass.
And before long, along came a British lorry full of the same or
similar drunken soldiers. Their truck slammed predictably into the
hole and all the Irish guys (including my grandfather) stood up
from the nearby hedgerows with their rifles and guns and fired at
them. My grandfather said there were bodies every where.all
British, none Irish.
After that the Brits never fired at school children in the area
again. Proof I suppose that behaviour modification isn't just top
Problem with this story is I've never been able to get it verified.
And so I've always been reluctant to share it even though my
grandfather was a very honest and principled man. Whereas the
Brits have never been known for honesty or decency in any of their
colonial endeavours past or present and have no problem sharing
their lies about same world-wide.
I know that because of his Irish national liberation activities, my
Grandfather had a falling out with his pro-British parents who he
never spoke or wrote to after he fled Ireland in 1924. His mom
died in the 1940's and his dad died in the 1950's and not a word
oral or written passed between them during this time period, not
even Christmas cards or baby pictures.
It was a sore subject that he didn't like to talk about. But civil
wars everywhere (especially ones caused by foreign occupation)
divide people. Brother against brother and Father against son.
Same deal in Iraq and Afghanistan really...and both are former
British colonies too...just like Iran. Now you know why a lot of
the people there fight just like my grandfather fought with each
other and with others. They don't want to be occupied, not today
or tomorrow and certainly not permanently.
During the early 1970's, I asked my grandfather about some of the
IRA atrocities that were being reported by the usual media and how
he could support any of that. He said assuming what we heard was
true, that the IRA is committing these kinds of atrocities then it
wasn't the same IRA that he was involved with although he had no
problem generally with native insurgencies being as violent as they
had to be.
When I asked him to describe the difference if any, he said
well.the IRA didn't have planes to drop bombs or ships to fire
cannons from, so they could only ever do far less damage. Nor did
they have enough money to bribe one part of the English population
to fight against the other parts there.
Also, back then if they knew they had an informer in their midst,
they never went to his house and shot him in front of his wife and
kids, no sir, they waited along the road between his home and his
work and simply grabbed and dragged him off to a remote field, held
a hearing, showed him their evidence, got his confession and shot
him dead leaving a note on the body letting everyone know it was
the IRA who shot him and why, that way no one else would be
wrongfully blamed and his wife and kids were spared at least any
unnecessary heart ache.
These are some of those qualitative distinctions that natives every
where have the right to make and keep on making against invaders
and quislings otherwise it will just keep raining dead in Haditha.
Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews +
Letters + Archives