I have just read Geraldine
Adams' piece on the disgraceful scenes in Ardoyne
on July 12th. Fair play to her, her article hit the
nail on the head. My own tongue-in-cheek
piece reflected her view but certainly not with
her very, and appropriate, political comment.
Perhaps my own experiences with Gerry
Kelly as a comrade on a difficult mission in England
and our subsequent imprisonment together leaves me
somewhat emotionally vulnerable to the person. We
went through a lot together. It causes me a great
deal of pain to ridicule the boy I once knew to be
stubborn, anti-establishment, arrogant as only those
who are convinced of the rightness of their cause
can be. A man-boy who endured the same rigours of
hunger-strike and force-feeding as myself, my sister,
Hugh Feeney and others on our failed mission.
I got to know Gerry Kelly well, from
the boy leaping over bollards at Trafalgar Square
to the boy who stood proudly in the dock at Winchester
Crown Court to receive his life sentence and twenty
years; the boy who was dragged from the dock declaring
his loyalty to the Republican Cause, Damn your
concessions England we want our country! To
now witness what he has become, a British lackey,
a forelock tugging parody of an enslaved people, a
puppet for the Brits and all that is bad in our country,
that causes me deep pain, deep hurt, hurt because
Gerry Kelly was a person that I once loved as one
can only love a brother or a comrade.
I don't know why he gave up on the
struggle, why he accepted partition as a given, why
he plays the role of 'police' for the Brits. I will
never deny him his place as a brave man. He endured
the English prison system, he was no coward then.
Yet now I see him posturing, serious, camera conscious,
politician, whatever the moment seems to demand. Whatever
he has been told to be, he is.
I don't know. Power? Money? Notoriety? Acceptance?
It leaves me baffled; he was a grand lad and I could
never have foreseen an outcome such as him as an upholder
of the British rule in Ireland. It seemed then, all
those years ago, that he above all others would stay
staunch, or like many who have been disappointed,
he would close his door and keep his principles intact.
was it really all about? I know that the Gerry Kelly,
the boy I went to jail with, was his own person
but who owns him now and what price has he settled
for? That he turns against his own community, waves
the occupiers to safety and asks the people of Ardoyne
to get back down on their knees that is beyond
down on their knees to let the sectarian police force
escort the sectarian "We are The People"
mob strut their hatred past a community which has
endured flames, murder, prison, torture and assassination.
He had the gall to tell these people to get back down
with their faces in the dirt so that "The People"
could walk back to their old ways, the old days where
'no Fenian may apply'.
for what, Gerry? A job at Stormont or perhaps with
the new 'reformed' PSNI, because, believe me, Gerry,
you will be let rise to no great heights in the 'reformed'
Provisional Party. You WERE in the IRA and you stank
of cordite and that is a part of Republican history
too many of your party are ashamed of.
we starved together it was not 'to move the process
forward', it was not for seats in a British Government,
it was not to be treated as 'equals' in a Stormont
Assembly. It was, I like to think, because we had
a shared passion for justice and freedom for this
island, the whole of this island of Ireland. I believe
that we were dedicated to the old struggle to rid
this land of any British interference, that our wish
was to regain our dignity as Irishmen and women never
again to bend the knee, never again to lie down except
in death after a good fight. Death would never have
been our defeat living on our knees, now that
admired and respected the boy I went to jail with.
The man today? I don't even know who he is.
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