It’s January 2016, so it must be time for…
Anti-Sinn Féin sentiment to hit apoplectic proportions across the mainstream media and middle-classes. The only thing more nauseating than the self-serving antics of the All-Ireland version of the politburo is the hysterical outcry The Party provokes among those respectable folk forced to suffer the riff-raff.
Specifically, the cynical self-serving outcry that has them holding their noses as they take their seats next to them in the pews of Leinster House; all the while conveniently ignoring their own role in sanctioning the same bunch of “grave-robbers and revisionists” to dominate the high-table of decision-making in the North through endorsement of the Good Friday Agreement.
It’s the sort of hypocrisy that enjoys persistent re-profiling into a gesture of such messianic proportions in the re-telling it’s a wonder the entire Republic weren’t awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Sure, those wee northerners would’ve obliterated each other had the political elite not stepped in to break up the skirmish. Sure, aren’t they all grand up there now? And aren’t we the fine nation that made all those generous concessions that didn’t affect us anyway to ensure peace was brokered between neighbours before we went back to ignoring them or sneering at them. And haven’t we a right to raise a brow at any allegation of hypocrisy, automatically charging anyone daring to do so with membership of Republican Sympathisers. Usually with all the consideration and finesse of a tweet. But..but…but…They’re not blowing the fuck out of each other! We made that happen! It’s different down here! What’s that you say about rampant sectarianism, political intransigence, and crippling poverty? Sorry, you’re breaking up….
It’s the sort of hypocrisy that enables the political and media elite to formulate a sickening hierarchy of respectable republicans. And get away with it. Where Mairia Cahill’s harrowing abuse can be exploited and adopted as a political weapon to fire from the benches of the Seanad while it’s fair game to relegate Pauline Tully, former wife of republican criminal Pearse McAuley, to a level of scrutiny consistent with the worst kind of victim-blaming those same critics abhor when applied elsewhere. Despite the over-lapping political ideologies of both women.
It’s the kind of hypocrisy that showers concern on the impact of the lack of law and disregard for justice on one woman, while spectacularly ignoring the commonalities of conflicts that unleash violence of every conceivable guise on too many women. But selective opportunistic support will do in lieu of giving a fuck, and possessing any sincerity or commitment to addressing the legacy of the Conflict. As long as they stay out of our way, and we can reduce peace to a tear-jerking sound-bite and the Conflict to a petty internal parochial battle between neighbours fuelled by irrational nationalism (our favourite fairytale), and write our late-coming elite into the history books of heroes, right? Right? Right.
Who will write the history of the Conflict? It’s not the job of the Shinners, but certainly not that of the myopic mainstream media and political middle-class of the Republic.
I ain’t no apologist or fan of Sinn Féin, but victim-robbing and revisionism cuts a number of sinister ways.
More rioja, anyone?