The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Rising to the Top of the Hate List

Fred A Wilcox • 8 September 2004

Last week, the Republican Party praised George W. Bush for his contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland. At the same time, Karl Rove, the man in charge of the party’s dirty tricks brigade, compared the Irish Republican Army to al Qaeda. Asked to comment on this comparison, David Trimble, who happened to be attending the Republican convention in New York City, demurred, claiming that he did not really understand Mr. Rove’s comments. Irish Americans, on the other hand, were shocked and outraged. Did Karl Rove speak for President Bush? Was he expressing the views of the Republican Party? Was the President’s close friend speaking off the cuff, or might there be some hidden agenda—a warning to Irish Republicans that they may soon be included in the Bush Administration’s enemy list.

Had Irish Americans been watching or listening to the convention in New York City, they might not have been surprised by Mr. Rove’s apparent faux pas. The tone of the convention was spiteful, the speakers were one-dimensional ideologues, and over- riding message was the god given right of the United States to attack other nations. Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, was belittled, insulted, and dismissed as an indecisive peacenik. Wounded three times in combat, the recipient of a Bronze and Silver Star for valor, Senator Kerry had dared to criticize the war in which he had volunteered to serve. Like many of his fellow veterans who returned from the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam, Kerry tried to tell the American people that the best way to honor those who were fighting and dying in Vietnam was to bring them home alive, not in body bags or fag-draped coffins.

Mr. Rove’s comments, and the contempt Republicans showed John Kerry, should alert Irish Americans and people living in Ireland, to the fact that the Bush administration has no intention of promoting peace and social justice in N. Ireland. In order to do that, Mr. Bush and friends would have to admit that the war in Iraq is a terrible mistake, and that killing people in order to win their hearts and minds did not work in Southeast Asia, and it will never work in the Middle East. If Mr. Bush truly wants to work for peace in N. Ireland, he must order the Office of Homeland Security to stop harassing, arresting, jailing, and deporting Irishmen whose only crime is that fought for a cause in which they strongly believed. If the Republican Party expects people in N. Ireland to work together for a just peace, and for long-term reconciliation, it must demonstrate, though its actions, that it opposes bigotry, accepts differences, believes in diversity, and rejects the politics of vilification and hatred.

Night after night, I heard powerful men and women at the Republican National Convention warn that the United States of America might be attacked, again, at any moment. I listened to George W. Bush and friends attempt to fan the fires of fear from the attacks on September 11, 2001. People hate America, said these speakers, because we are wealthy; because we are free; because we are powerful, we are a democratic nation; we have fought and are fighting to free the world from tyranny. We stand for truth and justice and righteousness. Our many enemies are plotting to destroy our cities, burn down our schools, and kill our children. Only if we are willing to send our sons and daughters to kill and die in Iraq and other “rogue” nations can we hope to survive as the beacon of light to the world. We must build an even bigger and better military. We must be willing to launch preemptive strikes against other nations, and we must be willing to give up our constitutional rights in order that, one day, we can celebrate victory over world terrorism.

While the National Republican Convention pounded the drums of war and disparaged anyone who might wish to end the carnage in Iraq, the Bush administration was trying to persuade Irish Americans (a sizeable voting block) that it intends to help move the peace process forward in N. Ireland. Meanwhile, the Office of Homeland Security continues its policy of harassing Irishmen and their families who have been living for long periods in the United States. In the name of homeland security, Attorney General John Ashcroft feels that his agents have the right to harass, arrest, and jail anyone they suspect of violating this nation’s laws. Using the Patriot Act to trump the bill of rights, Mr. Ashcroft and company prowl the nation’s libraries, colleges and universities, and immigrant communities, searching for enemies of the state.

With the exception of a brief period in Ireland, I’ve lived in the United States of America all of my life. Two of my four children live in New York City, ground zero, we are told repeatedly, for the next terrorist attack. My daughter works in Times Square, which according to one editorial writer for the New York Times will be leveled if terrorists decide to detonate a suitcase atomic bomb in Manhattan. Following the attacks on 9/11, I worked outside of the Medical Examiner’s office where bodies were being brought from the World Trade Center. I experienced the terror and heartache, the rage and fear and helplessness of those attacks. Like everyone else, I wanted someone to pay for the murder of 3,000 people from more than 80 nations who were working in the towers when they collapsed.

I’m not convinced that the greatest threat to the United States of America, and to world peace, is not from people who supposedly hate this country, but from those who believe turning Iraq into a free fire zone will win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. On Monday, September 6, 2004, twelve U.S. Marines were killed in Iraq. The next day, the count of American dead rose to 1,000. In August alone, 66 American soldiers were killed and approximately 1400 wounded. No one knows the exact number of Iraqis killed and wounded since Mr.Bush declared victory in Iraq, but the civilian count is many thousands dead, many more wounded.

Just how the Bush administration intends to work for peace and social justice in N. Ireland, while occupying Iraq and threatening to attack other sovereign nations is a real mystery. It would behoove those who have been working and continue to work for a lasting peace in Ireland to listen closely to Karl Rove and other insiders in the Bush administration who believe that peace is synonymous with war; that intolerance is the same as honest dialogue; and that people who rise up against colonialism and oppression are terrorists who must be destroyed by any means necessary.

The Bush administration, sad to say, has nothing to offer people who suffered through decades of war in N. Ireland.


 

 

 

 

Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews + Letters + Archives

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



 

 

All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw



Index: Current Articles



12 September 2004

Other Articles From This Issue:

Standing Down
Mick Hall

Life in the Party
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Is There a Peaceful Way to a Peoples Republic?
Liam O Comain

Rising to the Top of the Hate List
Fred A. Wilcox

Books Not Bombs
Mary La Rosa

Fighting for the Right to be a British Drug Dealer
Anthony McIntyre

Document Stamped 'Secret'
submitted by Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

The Final Insult
Starry Plough Editorial Collective

Tensions Escalate as Loyalists March Through the Ardoyne
Paul Mallon


6 September 2004

Not In Our Name
Fred A Wilcox

Child Murderers
Anthony McIntyre

32 CSM Urges Russian Government: Recognize Chechen Independence
Sean Burns

Who is Really to Blame?
George Young

Resistance, by ANY Means.
David A' Gardner

Reality Check
Patrick Lismore

Fairy Cleansing
Seaghán Ó Murchú

The Culture of Lies and Deceit
Liam O Comain

Labour Steps Up Pressure on IRA to Disband
Paul Mallon

 

 

The Blanket

http://lark. phoblacht. net

 

 

Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
Letters
Archives
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices

To contact the Blanket project with a comment, to contribute an article, or to make a donation, write to:

webmaster@phoblacht. net