Bloody Friday and how to use it

It’s an inexact comparison but it’s worth making. When Stephen Roche won the Tour de France, Charlie Haughey hurried to France to be photographed with him. When the fortieth anniversary of Bloody Friday came round, Nigel Dodds and Alban Maginness hurried to the radio microphone.
I’ve just finished listening to both.

Nigel said that anyone – up to and including the Deputy First Minister – who knew anything about those responsible for Bloody Friday should bring that information to the police. He has a point. Where innocent human life is taken, it’s a reasonable argument that those responsible should be identified.  Just as those responsible for Bloody Sunday should be identified. Or those responsible for the Dublin-Monaghan bombings should be identified. Or those responsible for a policy of collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, whose policy was the killing of innocent Catholics, should be identified. I expect when the appropriate anniversary comes round, Nigel will be hurrying to a microphone to talk about responsibility and those events as well.

Alban Maginness was on, talking about the “evilness” of Bloody Friday and the “utter futility” of violence. He had half a point.  The taking of innocent human life is indeed an evil. The German bombing of British cities, the British bombing of German cities, the atom bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the napalm bombing of Vietnam, the drone bombing policy of the US – all these involved and involve the taking of innocent human life.  I expect when the appropriate anniversary comes round, Alban will be hurrying to a microphone to talk about the evilness of those events as well.

Alban also spoke of “the utter futility of violence”. Um, sorry, Alban. Totally wrong. Violence crushed the native people of North America and opened up untold riches to the white invaders – riches which they are still enjoying. Violence was exerted by the Allies against Nazism and was completely successful. Violence was used by the British to exploit Kenya and other African countries, violence was used by those countries to shake off the British yoke, violence was used by the ANC,  led by people like Nelson Mandela, and was successful in ending apartheid in South Africa. For centuries, violence has been used as a means towards a political end and has been successful. “Politics is about power” a leading member of the SDLP once told me. You don’t get much more concentrated power than the use of violence. And it’s utterly futile to pretend otherwise.

As I listened to the radio this morning, I thought of a man I know  who lost a sibling, one he dearly loved, in Bloody Friday. Oddly, no newsmen or broadcasters have come knocking on his door to hear what he has to say. If they did, I suspect he’d tell them where to go. But then he isn’t a politician.

13 Responses to Bloody Friday and how to use it

  1. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    Maybe I missed it this morning,but did you think to ring the Nolan show and make some of the above points?Im sure they would have taken your call.

  2. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    I see that your old work colleague from the Irish News is tweeting about you today. “Abuse children. Kill a girl outside Mass. Bomb shoppers. Is there nothing the moral genius of Jude Collins can't defend?” His words, not mine.

  3. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    I'm not sure that violence did end apartheid.

  4. giordanobruno July 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    The rights or wrongs of other acts of violence have no relevance in judging this one, or any other individual instance.
    That is why , when you are invited to discuss Bloody Sunday for example, you do not hurry to the microphone to demand all other violent acts be considered first. “Sufficient onto the day is the evil thereof”
    As for the futility of violence, I suspect Alban Maginness had in mind the IRA's recent campaign.
    And it was indeed futile. What positive change did it bring that could not have been effected sooner and with less bloodshed by peaceful means?

  5. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    A typically snide comment about Alban Mc Guinness .Strange that no representatives from Sinn Fein could be found to appear on the Nolan show.But then we'll never read any criticism of that party on this blog spot .

  6. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Good article Jude. As usual, Gio etc come out with the same crap about not judging/comparing other instances of violence. The current/former empires are the masters of violence. If you jump on the condemn violence bandwagon, then you must condemn all violence-the British castrated many of their enemies in Kenya etc etc. Howard Zinn put it well when he stated, “how can you have a war against terrorism, when war is terrorism”.

  7. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Theres no point about arguing about Bloody Friday as you can't justify something so wrong (I say that as a staunch supporter of of the struggle).

    I agree with your other points though about violent resistance is deemed wrong in Ireland. Sure the Irish labour party support Hamas but condemn northern nationalism when we got off our knees in 69.


  8. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    It brought the worlds attention to this rotten little state and the end to unionist domination.


  9. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Why can't you just say Bloody Friday was wrong Jude?
    Why the continual attempt to *contextualise* some of the most vile crimes of The Troubles?

  10. Anonymous July 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    Sadly,it appears that Jude is not prepared to give answers to any of the questions above.He seems to occupy a parallel moral universe to the rest of us!

  11. giordanobruno July 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Anon 1922
    The trouble with your argument, to my mind, is that it is just a get out clause for acts like Bloody Friday, or indeed Bloody Sunday, Dresden Kenya S Africa etc.
    By all means examine each one rigorously and demand prosecutions where possible.
    But don't use one to deflect from another. Don't use the bombing of Hiroshima as a shield to deflect criticism of IRA actions.
    Something Jude repeatedly does.

  12. Anonymous July 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm #

    As usual Gio sums it up accurately.Its just a pity ,Jude that you are not prepared to enter into a dialogue with him at least whatever about the rest of us.

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