AS sent to the GUARDIAN WHICH HAD AN ARTCLE BY JENKINS which mentioned fake history


The Guardian, (motto: Comment is free -but facts are sacred) is always an eye-opener, but like the image of daffodils, some of its pieces can flash upon the inward eye, or even put this reader in a  pensive mood.

One such piece, on  the risks of fake history, by Simon Jenkins (15 February) prompts such a mood. Sir Simon’s failure to derail the Irish peace process in the 1990s clearly rankled with him, for years later, When it had progressed beyond the Good Friday Agreement, he gloated in The Times that President George W Bush had just snubbed Gerry Adams who was visiting the United States at the time.

Sir Simon boasted that when Taoiseach Albert Reynolds sought a US Visa, for Irish passport-holder Gerry Adams, in order to further the Peace Movement, he, Jenkins had briefed White House staff with the story that the IRA had killed “3,000 Britons” since 1969.

The implication that all fatalities in the unpleasantness of the recent years had been British, and that only Republicans inflicted death, might be forgiven from a casual acquaintance met in a pub. But Sir Simon is a very professional  communicator and a former Editor of THE TIMES, which had been censured by the Press Council for a similarly motivated untruth more than a decade before the failure which rankled with him.

In May 1981 in his front-page report on the funeral of Bobby Sands, the Hunger Striker whose for a similarly motivated untruth more than a decade before the failure which rankled with him.

victory in a Westminster By-Election had rocked the British Establishment, Christopher Thomas, who had already been the Ireland Correspondent of THE TIMES,for two years, falsely asserted that Republicans

had killed over 2,000 Protestants since 1969. At the time, the total fatalities in the War/Emergency/Troubles or Unpleasantness amounted to about 2,200.,

THE TIMES, under the then Editor, Harold Evans, sought to defend its falsehood, and was censured for it by the Press Council some nine months later.

The ink was hardly dry on the adjudication than the Daily Express, the Daily Star, and the Daily Mail, all on the same morning, repeated the same untruth. The Daily Mail did so, under the name of Sir Humphrey Atkins, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

In the 12th century, following the Norman Invasion (from Wales) of Ireland, Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) purported to describe the customs and traditions of the Irish. And he had many imitators. Geoffrey Keating, an Irish priest of English descent, who lived in the reign of Elizabeth, James 1 and Charles 1, in his Preface to Foras Feasa at Eirinn  (A Foundation of Knowledge on Ireland), wrote of the methods of those writers –“ It is almost according to the fashions of the beetle that they act , when writing concerning the Irish. For it is the fashion of the beetle when it lifts its head inthe summertime, to go about fluttering, and not stoop downwards towards any delicate flower whichmay be in the field, or or any blossom in the garden, but it keeps bustling about until it meets with the dung of a horse or cow , and proceeds to roll itself therein.”

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