I’ve just listened to some people on Talkback discussing the singing of ‘Zombie’ at the week-end rugby match, and the singing of ‘Celtic Symphony’ by crowds at a Wolfe Tones concert. Much was made of ‘Zombie’ being a song that did a not-in-my-name about the Troubles. Then there was a mention of some IRA killings, like the Warrington deaths of Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball. Then it was noted that Micheål Martin had attended a memorial ceremony for a (good/old) IRA ambush in which six RIC policemen were killed.
That’s the point that Crawley began to develop but then left: if we denounce IRA (good old or more recent) killings, should we not follow through and denounce all violent killings? Much sympathy was expressed for the victims of the Warrington bomb – how could anybody in their right mind justify the bombs that killed young Parry and Ball? The Enniskillen bomb was also mentioned.
Well, here’s the thing. In wars/conflicts, people kill other people. If Side A can kill more of Side B, they’ll probably win the war and their dead soldiers will be honoured for decades, maybe centuries. How could anybody justify the Warrington bomb? Indeed. And who could justify the Second World War bombing of Coventry or Cologne or London or Dresden? Who could justify the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki?
A suggestion for the BBC and Talkback in particular: if you’re going to discuss a moral issue, don’t just clutch your pearls over the awfulness of some things that happened here. Be logical and apply the same moral yardstick to all violent killing of innocent people. And accept that the biggest celebration of killing down the centuries occurs here every November. It’s called Remembrance. How could anyone, casting their minds back to such bestial savagery, forget?