web site for the Christian Science Monitor
provides a very instructive tutorial on terrorism.
Strangely enough, it begins with a photo of Irish
revolutionary leader, Michael Collins, and this voiceover:
one man be a patriot and a terrorist? Consider Irelands
Michael Collins. In the fall of 1920, Collins
band of twelve apostles assassinated 14 British officers
in Collins effort to win independence. Many
say Collins was a patriot, but was he also a terrorist?
help people answer this question, the Monitor
(CSM) provides a definition of terrorism from Brian
Michael Jenkins, author of International Terrorism:
A New Mode of Conflict:
sets terrorism apart from other violence is this:
terrorism consists of acts carried out in a dramatic
way to attract publicity and create an atmosphere
of alarm that goes far beyond the actual victims.
Indeed, the identity of the victims is often secondary
to the terrorists who aim their violence at the people
watching. This distinction between the actual victims
and a target audience is the hallmark of terrorism
and separates it from other modes of armed conflict.
Terrorism is theatre.
we apply this definition to Collins and his deadly
attack, we need to consider Britains violent
response to the assassinations. It happened later
that same day, November 21st, 1920, and it added greatly
to the deaths on Bloody Sunday.
were uneasy, given the earlier killings by the IRA
that day, but they were also determined to continue
with ordinary life. Approximately 10,000 spectators
gathered in Croke Park for a much anticipated Gaelic
Football match between Dublin and Tipperary.
after the start of the game, an airplane flying over
the grounds dropped a red flare. Crown forces immediately
surrounded the stadium, and a British officer on top
of the wall fired a revolver shot. Without warning,
auxiliary soldiers began firing their weapons, and
a machine gun hastily set up just inside the main
entrance opened fire. At first, the crowd thought
the soldiers were firing blanks, but then the machine
gun fire increased the volume, and people began to
fall. The crowd stampeded towards the Railway wall,
which was furthest from the gunfire.
football players, Michael Hogan and Jim Egan, were
shot. A young Wexford man who attempted to whisper
an Act of Contrition into the dying Hogan's ear was
also shot dead. The casualties included Jeannie Boyle,
who had gone to the match with her fiancee and was
due to be married five days later, and John Scott,
who was fourteen and so mutilated that it was initially
thought that he had been savagely bayoneted. The youngest
victims were aged 10 and 11.
an effort to cover up the brutal and indiscriminate
killing by Crown forces, British authorities in Dublin
Castle issued a misleading press release:
number of men came to Dublin on Saturday under the
guise of asking to attend a football match between
Tipperary and Dublin. But their real intention was
to take part in the series of murderous outrages which
took place in Dublin that morning. Learning on Saturday
that a number of these gunmen were present in Croke
Park, the crown forces went to raid the field. It
was the original intention that an officer would go
to the centre of the field and speaking from a megaphone,
invite the assassins to come forward. But on their
approach, armed pickets gave warning. Shots were fired
to warn the wanted men, who caused a stampede and
escaped in the confusion.
explanation is transparently false. The
killing of innocent football fans was blatant retaliation
for the assassination of British agents.
we apply the definition of terrorism offered by Brian
Jenkins to the two incidents, it could justifiably
be said that both killings were carried out
in a dramatic way to attract publicity and create
an atmosphere of alarm that goes far beyond the actual
victims. However, there are differnces.
knew his actions would create fear in the minds of
British intelligence agents in Ireland, and alarm
in British government ministers in London. On the
other hand, the authors of the Croke Park massacre
wanted to create alarm, or terror, in the minds of
the Irish People.
definition further says: the identity of the
victims is often secondary to the terrorists who aim
their violence at the people watching.
the identity of Collins victims was paramount.
He targeted men for who they were, and what they were
doing in Ireland. They were professional undercover
intelligence agents, or spies, and their kind have
been hung or otherwise executed in hundreds of wars,
including the American Revolutionary War.
victims in Croke Park, however, were not selected
for who they were or what they had done; their identity
was clearly secondary. Therefore, the hallmark
of terrorism applies to Britains murderous
rampage at the football match. They fired into a crowd
of football fans to inflict collective punishment
for Collins actions. Moreover, the real target
audience for their terrorism was the Irish People.
years later, in an action that was similar in kind,
but not in quantity, the Nazis annihilated the Czech
town of Lidice in reprisal for an assassination attempt
on Reinhard Heydrich, the Reichsprotektor of
Czechoslovakia. The Czech underground targeted Heydrich
for assassination because of who he was and what he
was doing. However, the individual identity of the
unfortunate citizens of Lidice was clearly secondary.
The real target audience was the Czech People.
January 30, 1972, fifty years after the massacre at
Croke Park, soldiers from the British Army's 1st Parachute
Regiment opened fire on unarmed and peaceful civilian
demonstrators in Derry, Ireland, near the Rossville
flats, killing 13 and wounding a number of others.
One wounded man later died from illness attributed
to that shooting.
march, which was called to protest internment without
trial, was declared "illegal" by British
the identity of the 14 murdered civilians was secondary.
As Brian Jenkins points out, Terrorism is theatre.
The real targets for terror were the Irish People
living in the occupied six counties, especially those
willing to protest and march for their rights. On
this second Bloody Sunday the British
government shot the Northern Irish civil rights movement
off the streets.
worst human rights outrage in the entire troubles
occurred two years later, in 1974. Loyalist terrorists
in the Portadown Ulster Volunteer Force, (UVF) aided
by British intelligence agents, carried out murderous
street bombings in Dublin and Monaghan. The simultaneous
blasts on Parnell Street and Talbot Street in Dublin,
killed 26, and the explosion in Monaghan town left
six dead. The identity of the victims was secondary,
because the real target for terror was the Irish People,
especially those living in the Republic of Ireland.
Christian Science Monitor terrorism tutorial
also provides a link to a U.S. State Department page
on state-sponsored terrorism. The states so designated
are Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and
Sudan the usual suspects. Britain
will never be found there, because the special
relationship hides a multitude of sins, including
terrorism is also theatre, and ministers are strolling
players, expert at scenery shifting and other stagecraft.
Last December, for instance, Britains top policeman,
Sir John Stevens, delivered a long-delayed report
on British government-assisted collusion and murder
to Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Stevens inquiry
had been repeatedly blocked, wrecked by arson, manipulated,
and delayed for 14 years. Even then, the government
released less than 20 pages of the 3,000-page report
to the press and public, and made no comment.
speaking a few days later about the Middle East, Prime
Minister Blair said, We condemn totally anybody
who is engaged in terrorist activity of any sort at
all, wherever in the world.
best comment on this statement is Hamlets response
to the question: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
Mullan is author of Eyewitness Bloody Sunday: The
(Wolfhound, 1997; Merlin, 2002)
Mullin drafted the first Irish
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