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From: Irish Political Review: Editorials
Date: November, 2010
By: Editorial
Title: Like A Virgin!
Witnesses To Mass Murder In The Icy Bann is the headline to an Irish Times article advertising the opening of a Trinity College exhibition of documents written by Protestants who suffered a setback in the English/Scottish ethnic cleansing of Ulster in 1641.

If the word "murder" is to be used about events in a conflict of civilisations over three and a half centuries ago, then so must some other words that are not pleasant.

There was a time—we recall it well: it was not very long ago—when superior people deplored the fact that there were bigots with long memories who carried on about things that happened in the 17th century as if those events had something to do with us. As we understood their position, it was that there was a time in the past beyond which moral standards and moral judgments did not apply That view seemed sensible to us and we were happy to go along with it. But, if the superior people now want to publish sensationalist headlines about "murder" in the mid-16th century, and relate that "murder" to politics in the present day, then we must also discuss ethnic cleansing, colonial displacement, cultural genocide, and perhaps even actual genocide.

The subject is a Pandora's Box, best left unopened....

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From: Irish Political Review: Editorials
Date: October, 2010
By: Editorial
Title: What's Constitutional?
Fianna Fail Junior Minister Martin Mansergh has been putting himself about. Speaking at the McCluskey Summer School he said that Fianna Fail could not contest elections in the North because it was a party in government in the Republic and to do so would create a conflict of interest and damage the peace process.

Senior Fianna Fail Ministers, Dermot Ahern and Eamon Cuiv, have been encouraging the setting up of Party organisations in the North. The measure is generally supported by Cumainn around the South. The question of contesting elections in the North has not arisen as a practical proposition because party organisation is still in a rudimentary stage. But Mansergh has jumped in to pre-empt it, supported by the new leader of the SDLP, Margaret Ritchie.

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From: Church & State: Editorials
Date: October, 2010
By: Brendan Clifford
Title: Henry The Eighthism
What we know as Christianity gripped the imagination of what we call civilisation about 1,700 years ago. That is to say that it became the religion of the Roman Empire. Until it became the religion of the Roman Empire, it was not what we know as Christianity. Pre-Imperial Christianity was something different.

Civilised Europe remained true to its Christianity, in its fashion, until recently. What it did was done in the name of Christianity. And, as what was uncivilised was civilised, it became Christian.

The civilising of the barbarians of Europe was sometimes done by seduction and sometimes by force. The seducing seems to have been done by the Irish, who had themselves been seduced. The forcible Christianising was done by the Empire.

The Christianising of the Empire was done for reasons of state. Its function was to consolidate the Empire by weaving a popular ideology into the vast administrative structure which had long outrun whatever impulse had driven the Romans who had made the Empire.

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From: Irish Political Review: Editorials
Date: September, 2010
By: Editorial
Title: Trouble With Moderates . . .
Extremism is rampant in the North again. The DUP and Sinn Fein negotiated a new arrangement to take some of the heat out of the conflict over parades. It was vetoed by the Tory/Unionist merger, acting through the Orange Order. The Tory/Unionist position is now one of all-out, unmediated communal conflict over policing.

There can be no democratic objection to this. Democracy operates by the conflict of parties, and each party is under obligation to do battle with its rival by whatever means are available to it, given the mood and culture of the electorate. The Democratic Unionist Party has made a deal with Sinn Fein, and Paisley says it would be OK for Martin McGuinness to be First Minister if the Provos become the biggest party in "the Northern Ireland state". The Ulster Unionist Party is therefore honour bound—insofar as honour has anything to do with democracy—to try to unsettle the settlement made by its rival with its enemy, and restore the simple, unrestrained antagonism of communities.

But the UUP, even in its tactical extremism, remains the 'moderate' Unionist Party. That is a fixed idea of the system. Without it there would be chaos. It is an Article of Faith. Its function is to be believed and not to be subjected to reason.

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From: Irish Political Review: Editorials
Date: August, 2010
By: Editorial
Title: Not To Reason Why
This is the season of Sommetry,when the mindless Great War slaughter on the Somme is glorified as heroic. The Irish Government has for many years been feeling its way towards full participation in the annual glorification of the slaughter without saying what the purpose of it all was. To glorify the Somme without showing that it was necessary to the achievement of some admirable political aim—and that is what the Irish Government has been doing—is to hold up abstract militarism as an ideal.

In recent years Martin McGuinness too has been praising the Somme. He has been praising the courage and bravery of the hundreds of thousands who took part in the blind assault on the prepared German defences. They kept it up in the course of a long Summer day, with each fresh wave from the British trenches walking over the bodies of the previous wave in No-Man's-Land.

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