Egypt must open the borders with Gaza to let the aid in and the wounded out

By Fra Hughes Belfast

The total siege on Gaza by air sea and land can only work with the complicity of the Egyptian military regime.

Egypt, once the leader of the Arab world and defender of the Nasserite vision of a socialist middle east, has become a cruel caricature of those dreams.

Egypt was first occupied by the British in 1882. During the first world war, it was a British Protectorate and in 1922 following nationalist demonstrations, it placed a monarchy in nominal charge of Egypt, while Britain continued to control the Suez Canal, the political life of the country and train the army and police.

On 23 July 1952, a Nationalist coup, led by the Free Officers Movement saw the imposed monarchy deposed and a military President and government put in its place.

This coup advocated for the removal of British troops from Egypt and promoted a socialist secular government. It was led by Mohammed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Thus the Nasserite movement was born, and a form of Arab socialist nationalism swept across the region.

Nasser helped Egypt become a Republic, free from western interference. He was forced to nationalise the Suez Canal to fund the building of the Aswan Dam, a project America had agreed to finance but then reneged. He defeated a joint British French and Israeli attempt to recapture the canal and became a hero to the Arab masses and the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.

His vision was one of a strong Egypt, with full industrialisation and employment, with a socialist government supporting the people with homes education and health, has failed to materialise.

After Nasser, we had President Muhammed Anwar al-Sadat. He served from 1970 until his assassination on 6 October 1981.

A contemporary of Nasser he served as vice president and signed the 1976 Camp David peace agreement with Menachem Begin of Israel.

He led Egypt away from Nasserism and towards American capitalism and was assassinated in a military coup.

Hosni Mubarak who was injured during the assassination of Sadat became the next President and he ruled from 1981 until February 2011 when a historic street led revolution forced his resignation. A temporary leader was installed until Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi was sworn into office on 30 June 2012.

Under Morsi, ties were strengthened with Gaza where Hamas is seen as an offshoot organisation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

While I am not a fan of the Brotherhood as a democrat I fully supported the choice of the Egyptian people.

With the siege on Gaza, instigated in 2007 by Israel after Hamas won the democratic vote to lead the Palestinian people politically,  America refused to recognise the mandate Hamas won in Gaza and the Westbank. Israel began the siege and Egypt joined them under pressure from both the US and Israel.

President Abbas in the West Bank refused to accept the outcome and as result, he has stayed in power without a mandate and is defacto a dictator refusing to hold fresh elections which he knows he must lose. He has lost the people as the PA Palestinian Authority continues to support the Israeli occupation in return for money position and power.

As conditions in Gaza began to improve as a result of Morsi being elected, plans were put in place to have him removed.

Many believe and I am one of them that Israel and America conspired to instigate the coup that brought Sisi to power.

Since then Egypt has played a full part in the misery heaped upon the people of Gaza by Israel and has even shot Gazan’s and flooded their lifeline to the outside world, their tunnels.

Israel yet again murders bombs and destroys Gaza with impunity along with the people their livelihoods and their infrastructure without restraint, all the while being encouraged by western politicians proclaiming’ Israels right to defend itself’ while ignoring the rights of Palestinians to self-defence from occupation. It is Egypt who holds the key to unlock Gaza and end the siege.

As long as Egypt enforces a blockade of Gaza by land sea and air they are just as complicit as Israel for the slow genocide and war crimes being perpetrated against Gaza.

While we remain silent on Israeli war crimes and Egypts connivance in them, then we too are guilty of complicity in war crimes.

It is not the words of your enemies you will remember but the silence of your friends.

The next time you condemn Israeli Actions please remember to condemn Egypt’s inactions.

Open the borders. Let the aid in and the wounded out.

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Sheikh Jarrah Al Quds and the Right of Resistance

Al Quds the Red Line

By Fra Hughes Belfast

Al Quds, Jerusalem is the red line for the Palestinian people the diaspora and the Arab collective.

It is the capital of Palestine and home to the third holiest shrine in Islam the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Great Mosque in Mecca to Al Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site for 16-17 months after his migration to Mecca. (Wikipedia)

So how did we get to this current impasse?

Jerusalem is in flames, Gaza is being bombed back to the stone age Israeli Zionists and illegal settlers are attacking Palestinian business, homes, people in the streets, at their residences and places of worship.

Palestinians are defending themselves by any means necessary.

I won’t give a historical lecture just some pertinent facts.

The first Zionist Congress was held in 1897 in Basel Switzerland. It was decided then that European antisemitism needed to be challenged and that a new state for the Jewish people free from European antisemitism was to be created.

Several ideas were considered including Madagascar Uganda and some Latin American countries.

Finally, it was decided Palestine would become the new Israel.

From 1901 onwards the Jewish National Fund began buying land in Palestine. Palestine at that time was part of the Ottoman empire.

The land was bought from absentee Turkish landowners, the Palestinians put off the land and Jewish only migrants employed.

This continued up until the first world war. The British formed regiments of Palestinian and Arab troops promising them freedom from Ottoman occupation if they fought for Britain.

When the war ended the troops dispersed and Britain and France carved up the middle east as a prize for both their colonial empires.

All manifestations of violence today in the middle east stem from the Sykes-Picot agreement and the redrawing of the old Ottoman Empire into a new white European colonial construct. All those who fought for Britain and for the freedom of small nations were abandoned. They were simply Cannon fodder to save British lives by using expendable Arab lives.

The Jewish National fund continued to buy up land and displace the indigenous population.

As the 1920s progressed we witnessed clashes between the European colonists and the indigenous population with riots in Jerusalem during this decade.

With the outbreak of the second world war Zionist designs to fully colonise Palestine were in place.

After 1945 further ethnic clashes occurred. The Zionists were fully armed and trained and the Palestinians had no army, just collections of neighbours and villagers trying to defend their homes and families.

The Stern Gangs, The Hagana and the Irgun began a campaign to terrorise, murder and displace the indigenous population. They succeeded with the help of Britain and America at the UN and the state of Palestine under the British Mandate was partitioned and the new state of Israel born at the point of terrorist guns. 750,000 Palestinians were forced into exile into the surrounding Arab countries and the systematic erasure of the Palestine footprint in the new state began. Villages were destroyed so their inhabitants could not return. Businesses taken over by Jewish Zionist families, homes sequestered and the land stolen.

This happened again in 1967 during the six-day war with the occupation of the West Bank. This continued occupation and the siege on Gaza from 2007 are a continuation of the policy of the theft of homes, theft of land theft of resources and the displacement of the indigenous population.

From the wild west to the middle east, the European white colonial settlement of North America and Canada has become the blueprint for the Zionist colonisation of Palestine.

We can see the house evictions in Sheikh Jarrah East Jerusalem for what they really are. A continuation of the Zionist Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

It is a microcosm of everyday reality and life under occupation.

These house possessions by zionists are just the latest step in the long path to the total Judification of Palestine.

West Jerusalem is already nearly 100% Zionist.

The leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly facing criminal corruption charges and is hanging on to power as leader of an extremist zionist political party Likud by the skin of his teeth.

During the Holy Muslim Festival of Ramadan up to 100,000 Palestinians gather for prayer and worship daily at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem known in Arabic as Al Quds

Now if you remember, the Israeli military occupation is illegal under international law.

The zionist settlements are illegal under international law.

Every day Palestinians watch their homes land and businesses confiscated by the Israeli occupation.

These daily injustices lead to a growing sense of frustration, anger and discontent.

The Israeli illegal occupation forces then attacked the peaceful worshippers in the compound adjacent to the Al Aqsa mosque.

They attacked people through dispersal squads who use sound bombs, chemical canisters, arrests and assaults to clear any groups who might congregate.

This means family, friends, neighbours and communities cannot gather in conversation in the community and in peace at the end of the day attending or leaving prayer.

The scenes witnessed all over the Arab, Persian and Muslim world of peaceful worshippers many of them women being attacked inside the mosque at prayer, has led to the resistance groups in Gaza launching primitive rockets at Israel in retaliation for the Israeli state brutalisation of Palestinians at the mosque and under occupation.

Israel’s disproportionate response by launching military sorties from land, sea and air has destroyed buildings and killed scores of men, women and children.

While Israelis cower in their bomb shelters from the falling debris of Palestinian rockets with a payload similar to an enormous firework the Gazan’s have no bomb shelters, no air force, no navy and no land army.

They have a few rockets, machine guns, mortars and rifles to defend them against one the largest modern military machines in the world today.

While Biden yet another pro-Zionist American President phones Netanyahu to give his support to the ‘Israel must have the right to defend itself ‘mantra, all we will see and hear from western media propagandists are more Zionist cries of victimhood.

I have been to Gaza on a medical aid convoy in 2010. I have walked the streets the Zionists are returning to rubble.

They intend to bomb Gaza back to the stone age.

Electricity only runs for a few hours a day. Fresh drinking water is nearly unheard of and bottled water and fuel for generators is sold to Gaza by Israel

With a total land, sea and air blockade of Gaza, the population with huge unemployment rates, nearly 70% for the young Gazans watch each day as Israel destroys Gaza through its bombing campaign, of one building one house one business one apartment block one family at a time. The fear the people and especially the children must be living under is unimaginable..

What can we do?

Support the right of Palestinians as enshrined in International Law to free themselves from occupation by any means necessary.

Go on a protest.

Support BDS and boycott Israel goods and companies.

Demand your government to divest from the political and financial support of Israel.

Once the killings and bombings stop all the people you see protesting will go home and the Palestinians and the Yemenis and the Syrians will be forgotten.

Please remember it’s not just Palestine the Zionists want to destroy. They want total hegemonic control over the entire region.

That means destroying any country and its peoples that it cannot control. Look at Iraq and Libya, see Syria and Yemen watch them threaten Lebanon and Iran.

Israel is cancer in the body politics of the region. Like cancer, it must respond to treatment or the host and the body die.

There will soon be 1 million Zionist Jewish settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They are all illegal. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying force(Israel) from moving its civilian population(settlers) into the occupied territory.

UN Resolution 194 states that Palestinians exiled from their homes land and property have the Right of Return.

Israel has never let the Palestinians return.

It continues to usurp their rights and ethnically cleanse the west bank of its indigenous peoples through dispersal and dispossession.

In 1901 They had a dream of land free from hatred from discrimination from racial and religious prejudice.

Far from creating this land, they created a state based on hatred discrimination racial and religious prejudice.

For many outsiders, Israel and the settlers have become the very thing they set out to escape!

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It only took the British 50 Years to tell the people of Ballymurphy what they already knew ‘Entirely INNOCENT’

By Fra Hughes Belfast

It only took the British 50 years in a coroners court to tell the people of Ballymurphy what they already knew. Their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters had been murdered by British soldiers who ran amok on a killing spree in Ballymurphy housing estate in West Belfast between August 9 and August 11 1971.

The British Parachute Regiment was responsible for the murders. The same regiment and the same battalion and possibly the same platoon went on to murder 14 civilians in Derry, on what became known as Bloody Sunday on January 30 1972.

The first massacre in Belfast was focused on operation Demetrius when the British army arrested Irish Catholic nationalists in their homes and transported them to the Long Kesh concentration camp on the outskirts of Belfast to be ‘Interned without trial’

The second massacre in Derry by the same troops, who had been transferred there specifically on that occasion, to confront and subdue a Civil Rights March, whose aim was to highlight the continued Internment without trial of Irish Catholic Nationalists.

There is no irony lost, that these troops first arrested men without trial then murdered anyone who stood in their way and finally murdered those peacefully marching against their actions and those of the state.

By late afternoon on Bloody Sunday  30 January 1972, 13 were dead on day and many more wounded.

By the end of the day on 11 August 1971, ten were to die and many were wounded.

The facts speak for themselves. The dead cannot.

It has been the onerous duty of the living, the family members, the witnesses and the survivors to speak the truth of the events on those bloody days.

Ireland has had many atrocities and many people murdered by the forces of the state and the illegal British occupation of Ireland over the centuries.

The reason why these events are so significant is that they have all occurred within living memory, well of those who survived anyway and their determination that the truth will be spoken, has carried on for 50 years.

Maybe you are at a loss, confused and wondering why 50 years on people are still demanding the truth? 

Well, it really is quite simple.

The British troops on the ground, their leaders at General Headquarters and their masters in the British House of Commons, all conspired in the lie that those killed, those murdered, those injured were all armed terrorists engaged in attacks upon her majesty’s armed forces.

That reasonable force was used by the army to defend itself and the survivors and witnesses were liars and assisting those prosecuting violence against the British peacekeeping forces.

The only people using force and violence on these occasions were the British Army.

The death toll, the injuries and the number of bullets discharged all prove one thing.

A cold-blooded decision to murder unarmed innocent Irish catholic nationalist citizens under occupation and therefore protection of the British state.A state which conspired to kill them, cover up the atrocities and exonerate the guilty by denigrating the innocent.

There have been numerous murderous attacks by the British forces of occupation on the Irish people, from the Red Coats through Cromwell’s massacre of Catholic at Drogheda Cathedral, to the black and tans and the ‘paras’

Many of those involved in directing these operations were subsequently promoted like Colonel Michael Jackson commander of the troops involved in Derry and Belfast would later become GOC. General Officer Commanding British Land Forces.

Between collusion with loyalist paramilitary counter-revolutionary murder gangs, targetting and assassinating roman catholic Irish nationalists, republicans and socialists the British state has been up to its neck in extrajudicial murders, covers ups and whitewash inquiries.

Yesterday finally after 50 years, an inquest into the deaths, returned a verdict.

Mrs Justice Keegan in the Corners Court Belfast at the Inquest of those murdered said they were’ entirely innocent’ and that the British army had shot dead at least 9 of the 10 killed.

Those murdered were as a direct result of the state’s imposition of a policy, long used against the nationalist community by successive British and unionist regimes of ‘Internment without trial’.

The subsequent arrests, beating and resistance by the community to this emergency powers act of subjugation, led to the murders of 10 innocent unarmed people including a mother, a priest and a young man.

While Britain continues to deny justice to the victims of British military interventions at home and abroad we will see many other campaigns demanding truth which continue to battle the lies and smears of the British Government against innocent unarmed civilians

From Kenya to Belfast, from Basra to Kabul, from Las Malvinas to Damascus, British war crimes are unpunished and remain unprosecuted.

The outcome of the Ballymurphy Massacre could see the full implementation of an amnesty for British soldiers in all its wars of oppression, occupation and subjugation.

We must all see justice done for the victims, their families and their communities

.

There must be No moratorium on British war crimes.

The next possible leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, the party which misruled Northern Ireland for more than 50 years is a former member of the British Army who thrust his bayonet through the throat of an Afghan native in Helmand province in Afghanistan.

This is how far politics has moved in Northern Ireland.

50 years of Unionist misrule 

50 years of British governmental lies.

Now we have the spectre of a former soldier, decorated for killing Johnny Foreigner,  an Afghan in his own country, with a bayonet. Becoming the next leader of the Ulster Unionist Party

The following was reported on BBC News Ni, 09-05-2019

The discipline of the Army prevented a higher death toll at Ballymurphy, a former British soldier has said.

The Ballymurphy inquest is looking into the shooting dead of 10 people in west Belfast in 1971.

Henry Gow is a trained barrister, a former soldier, SAS member, and policeman.

He claimed that soldiers ran sweepstakes on who would shoot a gunman first.

He further said that he believed inquests like this one were “witch hunts”.

Timeline of deaths.

Six civilians were killed on 9 August:(Wikipedia)

  • Francis Quinn (19), shot while going to the aid of a wounded man.
  • Father Hugh Mullan (38), a Catholic priest, shot while going to the aid of a wounded man, reportedly while waving a white cloth to indicate his intentions.
  • Joan Connolly (44), shot as she stood opposite the army base. It has been claimed she was shot by three soldiers and that she might have survived had she been given medical attention sooner, but she lay injured in a field for several hours.
  • Daniel Teggart (44) was shot fourteen times. Most of the bullets entered his back, allegedly as he lay injured on the ground.
  • Noel Phillips (20), shot as he stood opposite the army base.
  • Joseph Murphy (41), shot as he stood opposite the army base.] Murphy was subsequently taken into army custody and after his release, as he was dying in hospital, he claimed that he had been beaten and shot again while in custody. When his body was exhumed in October 2015, a second bullet was discovered in his body, which activists said corroborated his claim.]

One civilian was shot on 10 August and another three were shot on 11 August:

  • Edward Doherty (28), shot while walking along Whiterock Road.]
  • John Laverty (20) and Joseph Corr (43) were shot at separate points at the top of the Whiterock Road. Laverty was shot twice, once in the back and once in the back of the leg. Corr was shot several times and died of his injuries on 27 August.
  • John McKerr (49), shot by unknown attackers while standing outside a Catholic church, died of his injuries on 20 August.
  • Paddy McCarthy (44) got into a confrontation with a group of soldiers. Family alleges an empty gun was put in his mouth and the trigger pulled. McCarthy suffered a heart attack and died shortly afterwards

I encourage you to visit this online site for the full story

.http://www.ballymurphymassacre.com/cms/massacre/

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Bobby Sands and the 1981 Hunger Strike 40 th Anniversary

By Fra Hughes Belfast

They will not criminalise us, rob us of our true identity, steal our individualism, depoliticise us, churn us out as systemised, institutionalised, decent law-abiding robots. Never will they label our liberation struggle as criminal.” Bobby Sands

The 1980 Hunger strike led by Brendan Hughes comprised of seven Republican male prisoners at Her Majesties Cellular Prison the Maze also known as Long Kesh Prison Camp and three female Republican prisoners at Armagh Womens Prison ended on December 1980 after 53 days.

An agreement was reached between the protesting prisoners the prison authorities and by extension the British Government ending the Hunger Strike .The prisoners were demanding the reinstatement of Special Category Status were Republican volunteers jailed for opposing politically and militarily the British occupation of Ireland were treated as POWs Prisoners of War.

After the introduction of internment in 1971 were citizens of the state mainly Catholics with no criminal records were incarcerated without trial, having been convicted of no crime nor charged with any offence in Long Kesh prison camp these prisoners who were basically deprived of their liberty were allowed to wear their own clothes ,have free association within the camp, drill, exercise and hold educational classes.They ran the internment huts independently of the prison regime.Long Kesh had been used previously as a military camp and was brought into service as a make shift prison camp along with a Royal Navy Ship berthed in Belfast Harbour known as The Prison Ship Maidstone.

Both these facilities were needed because of the level of violence being exerted in society by the revolutionary Irish Republican Army and the counter revolutionary British Government armed and endorsed Ulster Defense Association and the more violent Ulster Volunteer Force.

Long Kesh Prison Camp

Republican volunteers who were convicted of politically or militarily opposing the continued British Military occupation of the North East of Ireland known as Northern Ireland who were imprisoned in Long Kesh Camp were denied the Special Category Status enjoyed by the Internees.

Following a Hunger Strike by Republican Prisoners in 1972 Special Category Status was extended to those convicted of politically motivated offences. .The strike led by Billy McKee and involving 40 other inmates succeeded in conferring Prisoner of War status to the IRA in the jail and in effect the British told the world the IRA were an armed politically motivated revolutionary army involved in a war against the continued occupation of a part of Ireland by the British Government its Army and civil enforcement structures.

It meant the IRA was engaged in a war of national liberation against a force occupying Government.

Hunger Strikes were not new in the arsenal of Irish Republican Resistance.

Although used as a desperate last resort to resolve injustice there are many precedents in Irish History for the use of hunger strike. .Its was traditional for any person who was wronged by another to sit and fast at the door of those who had wronged them until justice was done.

Lord Mayor of Cork Terrence Mc Swineys Republican Hunger Strikers Coffin Leaving Brixton Prison London to return home to Irleand

This special category status was removed on March 1st 1976 when the new prison The Maze was opened adjacent to Long Kesh and the British Government enacted its new prison policy of criminalisation of the Irish Republican Prisoners, the movement outside and its supporters at home and abroad.

All prisoners convicted after 1st March 1976 would be given prison uniforms and treated as criminals,made to carry out prison work and to obey orders given by the prison warders/regime and not their elected officers commanding the IRA volunteers held within the system.

After four years of prison protest ,violence from the prison officers ,failure by the British to implement the necessary changes to restore Special Category Status as agreed in the document ending the first Hunger Strike in 1980 .A new Hunger Strike led by Bobby Sands the OC of his wing began on March 1st 1981.Exactly five years to the day Special Status Category was withdrawn by the Her Majestys Government.

The prisoners would join the Hunger Strike at staged intervals to build momentum, support and pressure for their demands to be met.

The first to go on hunger strike was Bobby Sands IRA Belfast Brigade (convicted of possession of a gun)followed by Francis Hughes IRA South Derry Brigade( killing a british solider) Raymond McCreesh IRA South Armagh Brigade(possession of a rifle,attempted murder of security forces ,IRA membership) and Patsy O Hara INLA Derry(possession of a hand grenade) .Patsy was the Leader of the Irish National Liberation Army prisoners.

Francis Hughes Captured in the South Derry Hills after a gun battle with the undercover British SAS

The prisoners claimed a Hunger Strike was unavoidable due to what they claimed was “British deceit and broken promises”

Francis Hughes referring to the failure of the British Government to implement the changes agreed to end the first hunger strike said “The British know that any solution other than outright victory would be a defeat for them. It was in this frame of mind that they masterminded events leading into the new year, and when they foolishly thought they had won the day through their treachery they asked us for a white flag. Our action alone answers their hypocritical request and as before the message is loud and clear. There is no white flag and there shall be no surrender”.

As the hunger strike proceeded and more men joined the death fast Margaret Thatcher was advised by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Minister a member of her own Cabinet to sit tight and do nothing.

Outside the prison the momentum and support for the Hunger Strikers was growing. When a by election was called in the Fermanagh South Tyrone Parliamentary Constituency due to the death of the sitting Independent Member of the British House of Commons Frank Maguire, an opportunity was presented which afforded the Hunger Strikers, The IRA and its supporters the ability to highlight prisoners demand.

After serious negotiations within the Nationalist community it was agreed by all other parties and individuals interested in contesting the seat that Bobby Sands would be Nominated on 30 March 1981 to stand aa a Candidate for the vacant Parliamentary seat.

During the first seventeen days of his hunger strike Bobby had already lost sixteen pounds in body weight and was moved to the prison hospital.

Cell 8 at the Maze Hospital Wing Were Bobby Sands was moved to on March 23 1981

Bobby stood as an Anti-H-Block/Armagh Political Prisoner candidate and was opposed by Harry West who stood for the Ulster Unionist Party. On 9 April 1981, Sands won the election with 30,492 votes against 29,046 for West.

Bobby Sands was elected with more votes by his constituents in Fermanagh South Tyrone than the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher received by voters in her constituency of Finchley .

Supporters Celebrate as Bobby Sands IRA Hunger Striker is elected as a Member of the British Parliament on 9th April 1981 as an Anti H Block/Armagh Political Prisoner

Despite this historic election and the victory for the hunger striking prisoners and their demands to be treated as prisoners of war, tragically Bobby Sands would die twenty six day later on May 5 1981 after 66 days on Hunger strike.

He died as an Irish Republican Felon convicted of militarily opposing the British Occupation of Ireland .An Irish prisoner in a British jail on Irish soil, as the elected Parliamentary representative of the people of Fermanagh South Tyrone at the British Parliament . A member of The House of Commons with a larger vote than the British Prime Minister Margaret Thacher.

Amid the fall out and embarrassment of the British Establishment that a Republican Prisoner could be democratically elected by the will of the people to the House of Commons speedy legislation was rushed through Parliament barring prisoners serving 12 months or longer from standing for Parliament.

Owen Carron who was Bobby Sands election agent stood in the new by election caused by the death of Bobby Sands MP and was elected in August 1981 to the same seat with an increased majority and became the youngest MP at the time. In line with most other Irish republicans elected to the British Parliament, he did not take his seat.

Bobby Sands Cortege on route to Milltown Cemetery Belfast.Over 100 000 attend his funeral

“I was only a working-class boy from a Nationalist ghetto. But it is repression that creates the revolutionary spirit of freedom”. Bobby Sands

The death of Bobby Sands MP leads to violent confrontations between the British Crown Forces and the Nationalist people.

The people riot in Ardoyne May 5th 1981 on hearing of the death of Bobby Sands MP

Bobby Sands death on May 5th 1981 was quickly followed by Francis Hughes 12 May Raymond McCreesh 21st May Patsy O Hara 21st May.

With four men dead and many others on the death fast Margaret Thatcher claimed that the hunger strikers “Faced with the failure of their discredited cause, the men of violence have chosen in recent months to play what may well be their last card”

She was determined not make any concession to the republican inmates on free association within the prison or prison work.

She would also claim the prisoners were committing pre meditated su

Wanted for Murder Margaret Thatchericide and that the prison regime was not responsible for their deaths nor would they intervene and force feed the prisoners.

With a general election in the South of Ireland and council elections in the North nine protesting prisoners stood for election in Dail Eireann the Irish Parliamentary elections were both Kieran Doherty and Paddy Agnew were elected, with Joe McDonnell narrowly losing out a third seat and a further twenty five council seats going to socialist republican parties in the north it became apparent that the 1981 Hunger Strike heralded a new and sustained political support base for republican/socialist politics and candidates.

As the intransigence of Margaret Thatcher and the British Government seemed determined to let every republican hunger striker die pressure was building on the prisoners and their families by sections of the Catholic Church to end the protest.

With more prisoners joining the fast and several already near death something had to give.

The resolve of the prisoners was unwavering. The determination of the British Government not to compromise had already led to the death of four fasting protesting prisoners it was left to the families to decide ultimately how the hunger strike would be concluded.

The prisoners entered onto the their fast in the full knowledge that they might and would die if the British Government did not accede to their demands,but when a prisoner enters into a coma during the end stages of the fast where they lost consciousness and the body began to go into complete organ failure the families would become their legal guardians.

A prisoner who joined the fast, who had watched his comrades die before him and knew many more were fasting behind him closed his eyes for the last time slipping in and out of consciousness,a man who had made his peace with God and his farewells to his family was preparing to embrace his death .

The family were then faced with an agonising decision, do they allow the prison authorities to intervene with their permission and save their sons life by administering a life saving drip with nutrients or do they stand aside and let their son die as was his decision before entering the coma?

In the end the fast had to be stopped.

Thatcher seemed determined to let more protesting prisoners die although who knows if many more deaths would have forced her hand?

I cannot imagine the agony faced by the prisoners on the hunger strike.

The pain, the pressure sores , losing their eye sight ,emaciated bodies and ultimately having to face a premature death.

80% of the republican prisoners were under 25.

Nor can i imagine the agony of decision faced by the families as their sons died one by one seemingly for nothing as their demands were not met?

In total TEN MEN DIED on the 1981 Hunger Strike

TEN MEN DEAD IRA/INLA Hunger Strikers 1981

DIED THEY IN VAIN?

Within months of the election of Bobby Sands, Kieran Doherty and Paddy Agnew and the ending of the strike all the demands were met by the prison service and the British Government.

The Great Escape of 1983 were 39 Irish Republican Prisoners took over one wing of the prison ,arrested and subdued the prison guards, hijacked a prison food van, rammed the main gate and escaped the prison into the local rural community was a direct result of the sacrifice of the ten men of 81 and the concessions won.

Sinn Fein the Republican Party went onto develop the Ballot box in one hand and the Armalite in the other, the twin military and political election strategy eventually may have led to Sinn Fein becoming the second biggest Represented Party in the North with Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister and a Major Political Force in the South and could have contributed to the 1994 IRA CEASEFIRE ,the 1998 Good Friday Agreement .Perhaps the contribution of the prisoners ,the hunger strike,their deaths and the subsequent rise of Sinn Fein politically may never be fully understood or appreciated?

Would those who died on the Hunger Strike ,their families, comrades and those who marched for the Demand for Political Status agree with the way the peace process has evolved?

Would they agree that armed resistance to foreign occupation should be abandoned in the interests of an internal settlement in the north with the Irish Constitution forgoing its territorial claim to the integrity and Soverignty of the whole island?

With a triple locked Unionist veto on Irish reunification and a regime at Stormont that is permanently in government, were sectarianism is still beating at the very heart of the administration?

Well only they will know the answer !

Bobby Sands IRA ,MP Poet Writer Philosopher.

The Rhythm Of Time

by Bobby Sands.

There’s an inner thing in every man,
Do you know this thing my friend?
It has withstood the blows of a million years,
And will do so to the end.

It was born when time did not exist,
And it grew up out of life,
It cut down evil’s strangling vines,
Like a slashing searing knife.

It lit fires when fires were not,
And burnt the mind of man,
Tempering leadened hearts to steel,
From the time that time began.

It wept by the waters of Babylon,
And when all men were a loss,
It screeched in writhing agony,
And it hung bleeding from the Cross.

It died in Rome by lion and sword,
And in defiant cruel array,
When the deathly word was ‘Spartacus’
Along the Appian Way.

It marched with Wat the Tyler’s poor,
And frightened lord and king,
And it was emblazoned in their deathly stare,
As e’er a living thing.

It smiled in holy innocence,
Before conquistadors of old,
So meek and tame and unaware,
Of the deathly power of gold.

It burst forth through pitiful Paris streets,
And stormed the old Bastille,
And marched upon the serpent’s head,
And crushed it ‘neath its heel.

It died in blood on Buffalo Plains,
And starved by moons of rain,
Its heart was buried in Wounded Knee,
But it will come to rise again.

It screamed aloud by Kerry lakes,
As it was knelt upon the ground,
And it died in great defiance,
As they coldly shot it down.

It is found in every light of hope,
It knows no bounds nor space
It has risen in red and black and white,
It is there in every race.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
It screams in tyrants’ eyes,
It has reached the peak of mountains high,
It comes searing ‘cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,
It thunders forth its might,
It is ‘the undauntable thought’, my friend,
That thought that says ‘I’m right!’

funeral cortege terence mcswiney

Bobby Sands Election Count

Bobby Sands Funeral 100 000 Strong

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50% +1 The magic number for democratic consent

50% +1  The magic number for democratic consent.

By Fra Hugehs Belfast

As a young Nationalist, I was always told by those in power in Stormont and in Westminster and every year since ‘ that, so long as the majority of the people of Northern Ireland wish to remain part of the United Kingdom that was the stated position of the British government.’

Today we are living with the hangover or partition.

Ireland was divided by Britain and two states emerged. The Irish Free State comprising 26 counties and the new state of Northern Ireland comprising the remaining 6.

This state of affairs came about after the Irish War of Independence against Britain’s continued occupation of Ireland, had forced the British to concede partial autonomy for a part of Ireland while creating a political foothold on the island of Ireland whereby they could continue to have an input into the politics of Ireland by influencing, the politics of Northern Ireland.

The Irish Republican Army who prosecuted the war against the British accepted partition by the very narrowest of majorities, under the threat by the British that if they did not accept partition Ireland would face a brutal allout war from Britain using all the military strength at its disposal.

The bastardised State of Northern Irlena came into being on May 3 1921 and today May 3 20221, marks 100 years of partition. One hundred years of Unionist control of the State and 100 years of discrimination and sectarianism. State endorsed denial of the rights of the indigenous people their culture, language and traditions. The Irish people and Catholicism have been second class citizens in their country. Though many things have changed from the Civil rights marches of the 60’s demanding reform of the state through the armed campaign for Irish reunification and British withdrawal to the Good Friday Agreement which saw an end to armed conflict by some and transition into political power by Sinn Fein some things haven’t changed. The Irish Language Act which was part of the new decade new deal agreement has yet to see the light of day. As yet there is still no official recognition of the Irish language having the same position in the state as the English language. A language with equal status to be used in civil society and in interactions with the state institutions such as the courts.

It is the British who will decide when a border poll can be called in an effort to gauge the appetite for Irish reunification.

Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party has resigned her position as she has lost the confidence of her party colleagues and hardline loyalist paramilitaries.

The withdrawal of Great Britain and Northern from the European Union has exacerbated the demise of Unionism as the people here overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU , yet the DUP backed Boris Johnson and the leave campaign.

The new Irish Customs Sea border allows Northern Ireland to remain in the EU customs union and places customs checks between Britain and Northern Ireland at the Northern Ireland ports.

To some unionists and many loyalists this dilutes the union.

It has led to street violence and more recently illegal parades and protests which contravene the covid emergency laws designed to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Foster has failed to deliver on the protocol changes demanded by rank and file loyalists and has paid the price.

The next leader, tipped to be a fundamentalist right -wing conservative who believes the earth is 6000 years old, who believes a woman’s place is best served as a mother wife and daughter and who states homosexuality can be countered by Gay Conversion Therapy, is the ideal man to circle the wagons with the loyalist paramilitiaries and draw us all back 100 years to 1921.

Unionists and Loyalists who adhere to the union will never vote to accept reunification and will always threaten violence as their response to ending the colonial link with Britain.

With this in mind those who claim 50% +1 is not enough to ensure a peaceful transition to a reunited island I would say this.

There will always be friction and violence when the colonial rump of Britain’s presence in Ireland is forced to accept equality with the indigenous population.

In order to defer violence a recalcitrant unionist base must be convinced it will be better off in a united Ireland.

If 50%+1 gets a withdrawal from Europe in a national referendum in Britain 50% +1 is enough for a democratic mandate from the people here for unification.

I believe the result will be much, much higher.

In reality if you are a democrat you must accept the will of the people. Unionism and its loyalist paramilitary bed -fellows must no longer have a veto on progress on the island of Ireland.

End the veto. End partition. Let Ireland once a province be, a nation once again.

For all its sons and daughters.

It’s not magic it’s 50+1

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As we remember May 1 2021 we must never forget May 2 2014

As we remember the 1st May 2021 let us all please remember the  2nd May 2014

By Fra Hughes Belfast.

While workers, trade unionists, socialists and communists all over the world celebrate May 1st as International Workers Day we should pause and reflect on the tragic events that unfolded in Odessa on 2nd May 2014.

A day many will never forget. The loss of life. The viciousness of an unprovoked attack and the tragic loss of life will live on the hearts and memories of their loved ones, friends family and comrades of those who perished in a blazing inferno.

This was no tragic accident. It was a premeditated assault, culminating in mass murder.

As yet the biggest crime of all, No one has been held to account.

The dead suffered injustice in life and this continues in death.

Dramatic footage on social media captured the events surrounding the burning down of the Trade Union headquarters building in Odesa where many trade unionists, socialists, communists and Russian speaking Ukrainians were murdered by people who were no trade unionists, not-socialists,not-communists, not Russian speaking Ukranians, they were Ukrainian fascists.

The background is simple enough to understand.

From the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 America, the EU and Nato have been involved in the various colour revolutions and democracy movements to promote EU and western-style dominance in the Balkans and countries bordering on the Russian Federation.

Like the domino effect in Latin America, Estonia Latvia Lithuania alongside many other former Soviet Republics have joined Nato and the EU. Many of these pro-democracy movements were nothing more than funded arms of American foreign regime change programmes.

The Soros Foundation, the State Department, the CIA among others promote support and finance many of the groups which are seen to spearhead calls for regime change.

Ukraine was no different.

In 2014 Ukraine had a democratic leader. This was no dictatorship. There were no claims of voter fraud. The people had spoken. They had elected a pro-Russian President.

America and Victoria Nuland wanted a different outcome.

The vehicle to destabilise the elected government would become the Maidan Square protests.

While the President and the government reflecting the will of the people were seen to favour ties with Russia, its former political ally, the protestors favoured a closer alliance with the EU. The American position was to further support these protests and destabilise the elected government.

It did this by financing the protestors and giving them political cover. The propaganda machine in western media was unleashed.

The protestors attacked the police who were unarmed with petrol bombs and guns. When the police responded they were accused of beating peaceful protests thus demonising the regime.

Some protestors were shot dead and some injured.

There are credible reports that these individuals were targeted and killed by some of the pro-western elements involved in the protest in order to indict the government.

These murders had the desired effect. The manipulation of public opinion in the west to call for the removal of the elected Ukrainian government.

Victoria Nuland claimed in an interview with CNN , the US had invested 5 billion dollars in promoting democray in the Ukraine. since 1991. Many claim this money helped birth the Maidan movement and financed it.

The Maidan Square had outcomes.

It emboldened, financed and encouraged the extreme right in Ukraine to oust the pro-Russian government through street violence and intimidation. reminiscent of the tactics the Nazis used before coming to power in 1936.

It also mobilized the forces in support of the elected government and called for federalisation to protect Russian speaking Ukrainians in the various oblasts of Ukraine.

The resulting fall of the government led to the breakaway secessionist Republics of Luhansk and Donetsk and saw the Crimea return to mother Russia.

The two breakaway republics had first asked for federalisation within Ukraine. They did not seek independence but a place within Ukraine. They did not support what they viewed correctly as an external state-funded fascist coup sponsored by America and the EU.

The people asked for federalisation what they got was occupation with tanks and fascist volunteers.

The people fought back; they won and gained the independence that had not been sought but was forced upon them in order to protect their homes, families and communities.

In Odessa, on May 2 2014 the scene was set for violence and death,

Around 300 people had gathered at a protest camp near the trade union building in the centre of Odessa.

The people there were protesting in favour of the elected government and against the suspected coup.

That day a march by fascists would see 1200 right-wing thugs including right sector activists and 600 hundred ultra football fans, a violent section of football supporters, descend on central Odessa with the intent of holding a pro-unity march

The people at the camp had been collecting signatures calling for respect towards the Russian speaking Ukrainians and tolerance of communist history and the traditions of pro Russian Ukranians

There was violence on the march, .two pro-Maidan and four pro federation protestors were shot dead in the skirmishes that followed.

The result of all this violence was a determination by those on the march to attack those at the camp.

After a street confrontations many of the people under attack took refuge in the adjacent Trade Union building.

The camp was burnt down and those taking shelter in the building were first attacked and then cruelly burned to death.

Some it is reported, tried to defend the building from the rooftop.

Online social media shows men with stacks and batons enter the building and systematically attack and beat men and women of all ages severely reportedly going from room to room.Women were reportedly raped and others severely beaten.

They then exited the building and reports followed suggesting the exits were barricaded and the building torched.

As the building burned some appeared on the window ledges in an attempt to escape the flames.

They were reportedly derided and jeered. Some who jumped from the burning inferno it is claimed were savagely beaten as they lay on the ground.

No one has ever been prosecuted with these brutal assaults inside and outside of the building nor indeed the fire itself.

42 people died in the fire.

32 from carbon monoxide poisoning and 10 from jumping from the fire. Some it was claimed were beaten to death.

On the day 48 people died in total 172 were injured 25 critically.

The movement against the coup in Kiev folded after these brutal deaths. The fascists won. They had their coup and now Ukraine is a failed state with two breakaway republics.

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100 Years and not out but Arlene is!

100 years and not out but Arlene is!.

By Fra Hughes   Belfast

After 18 years as an elected member of the legislative assembly for Northern Ireland, 6 years as leader of the Democratic Unionist party and the last year as joint first minister, Arlene Foster’s political future is now in question.

When 75% of the elected party members called for a vote of no confidence in her leadership she resigned on the 28th of April 2021. The new leader of the party is to be elected in May and her position as the first minister of Northern Ireland will finish in June 2021 as we head towards assembly summer recess. An opportunity will then exist for the new leader to enter into dialogue with Sinn Fein who also hold the joint position of the first minister about how to proceed. That is accepting that the Democratic Unionist party decide to continue with its role within the Northern Ireland Assembly, which seems unclear. Bringing down the assembly has no real relevance except as a political stunt?

There have been many scandals during the 6 years of Fosters as leader of the DUP and to date not one of those scandals individually was enough to call her leadership into question. We had the renewable heating initiative, RHI, which was seen by many as malfeasance in public office or possibly corruption when public subsidies of millions of pounds were given to private individuals and companies as part of a renewable energy programme.

The social investment fund also saw millions of pounds go directly to community groups and individuals whom many felt were just conduits for money to enter into the Republican and Loyalist paramilitary and political grassroots. Jobs for the boys and girls to help secure the Peace by bribing paramilitaries?

More recently Arlene Foster seemed to finally endorse the Irish language act. The DUP  had for years refused to finance and subsidise an Irish language act that would allow the native indigenous language to hold the same position within Society as that of the coloniser English language. This may have upset hardline anti-Irish unionists both within and without the party.

When the DUP voted alongside the Conservative Party to endorse a Brexit strategy that would remove Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union some members of the DUP said any deal was welcome that removed Britain and Northern Ireland in its entirety from the European Union. The result of the Brexit deal between Boris Johnson and the EU has ushered in the Northern Ireland protocol. This has placed Customs checks for some goods between Britain and Northern Ireland in the Irish sea and not on the island of Ireland, which is seen as one integral body for Customs purposes and still resides within the European Union Single market as a special case.

As political unionism failed to renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol they engaged with loyalist paramilitaries and their representatives. The result was violence on the streets of Belfast, Derry and Carrickfergus. Loyalism flexed its violent muscles against the state to try and force renegotiations on the Northern Ireland protocol not politically but through political violence and paramilitary thugs.

Just a few days ago Arlene Foster against the wishes of many in her party abstained on a vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly concerning a tabled motion in connection with Banning conversion therapy. This is a therapy used by some to try and convince members of the LGBTQ  not to embrace their sexuality.

The DUP has been shedding votes to the more liberal Unionist party Alliance and the more extreme Unionist party Traditional Ulster Voice. Her leadership, her decision-making, and her role in leading the party have been called into question. The Northern Ireland Protocol is, without doubt, the Genesis for her demise as loyalist and more right-wing members of the DUP seem to be literally calling the shots. On the 3rd of May, we witness celebrations for some and the condemnation of others of 100 years of the state of Northern Ireland being in existence. A Unionist State for a Unionist people.

Many within the Democratic Unionist party want a return to the past. They want a return to Unionist, loyalist, Protestant domination of society in the north of Ireland. This is no longer an option as both demographics and times have changed and the DUP no longer holds the type of power within society that traditional unionism once had.

If a misogynistic, hard right, fully paid-up member of the Orange Order is elected to the position of leader of the Democratic Unionist party I believe this is another nail in the coffin of reactionary unionism.

The Democratic Unionist party only really exists to promote the Union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. With democrat change and a united Ireland drawing ever closer, the rationale for the existence of the DUP  will soon fizzle out. Without the sectarian coat trilling, the sectarian sabre-rattling and a diminishing sectarian voter base,  which has sustained the DUP from its Inception 50 years ago,  it will become marginalized on the periphery of politics both regionally in the North and nationally on the island of Ireland. 

I believe a more moderate unionism will come to the fore as we slowly progress towards National reunification. The writing on the wall will not say’ No Irish Sea Border or Forster must go’ The writing on the wall will be the new dispensation in a new Ireland for a new future for all.

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The Grand Old Duke of Edinburgh He had ten million pounds.

The Grand Old Duke of Edinburgh He had ten million pounds

By Fra Hughes

So the Duke is dead and to be buried on the afternoon of April 17 2021.

I am not a Royalist in fact I am a Republican.

The time has long since passed when Monarchies should have been condemned to the dustbin of history as a feudal anachronistic parasite that is long past its use-by date.

The history of the Monarchs and their divine god-given right to rule has been overthrown in many societies, while some may claim they are a modern figurehead which promotes consistency in society while governments come and go, we must always challenge their origins their history of slavery brutality theft colonisation and genocides.

The Famine Queen, Victoria let two million people die or immigrate while exporting food grain and cattle from Ireland for profit between 1847 and 1857 while under the reigns of Anne, Elizabeth and William, the Irish who held 100% of the land in 1530 were left with less than 14% in1703.

King Leopold II of Belgium while raping the Congo of its wealth ruled over the genocide of as many as 10 million people.

The Kings of Spain presided over the genocide of the indigenous populations of Latin America while the British and French did the same in North America and Canada.

The British colonised and murdered their way through parts of Africa, the Caribbean Australia New Zealand and China.

The false position of Monarchies in society was built on brutality, greed and violence.

The land they own is stolen or confiscated.

Even today Monarchies like Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are not fully democratised.

The killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the rumoured orders of Mohammed Bin Salman Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia is a case in point.

Murdered then dismembered in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey.

The role of the present British Monarch is a marriage of convenience. In order to keep the Royal name in the public eye and relevant in an ever-changing world and commonwealth the political class and the established class use the Monarchy as a rallying point for Nationalism and recruitment to the ever-decreasing British military machine. 

With various Princes in nominal charge of the Parachute regiment, Scottish and Welsh battalions together with the peerage system, a cabal of the industrial-military complex politicians and business interests continue to control all the power in the country.

The Monarchy today is the very epitome of White privilege.

Its relevance and influence have not gone unnoticed here.

The recent street disorder and criminal acts by loyalists coming hot on the heels of unionism failure to deliver on the NI Protocol have quickly subsided with the death of the old Duke.

It is interesting how the violence offered to the police and the nationalists who live on the sectarian interfaces has dissipated and melted away like snow from a ditch on a fine April morning, proves these criminal acts may be more orchestrated than many wish to confess.

With ten million pounds already banked to try to lessen loyalist passions over the protocol what will happen next is anybody’s guess.

I for one believe after the funeral and possibly on Sunday after the Celtic v Rangers Scottish cup tie we will be in a place more likely to show us the way forward.

Either the violence will not renew, or it will return apace with either more money needed to bribe the loyalty of Ulster’s loyalists or we will simply be in line for a full 3 months of sectarian coat-trailing and violence as unionist and loyalists both celebrate 100 years of a Protestant ruled N.Ireland where the Catholic Irish will have to mind themselves as best they can while at home, out and about conducting their lawful business and more importantly on or near sectarian interfaces.

As Unionism is at times responsible for Loyalist actions I can only concur they are in cahoots and no leadership for political unionism will be forthcoming.

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Brexit ,That Northern Ireland Protocol and the Storey so far

Brexit, That Northern Ireland Protocol and the Storey so far.

By Fra Hughes Belfast

Trouble erupted on the streets of Belfast on Wednesday the 7th of April 2021. We can only ask if we are witnessing a return to the violent scenes of 1969.

The Northern Ireland protocol has created the Irish Sea Border which is seen by Unionists and Loyalists as a diminution of their Britishness and of the continuing link between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and their fears for their future within a united Ireland which is now firmly on the political Horizon.

The fall out between the Democratic Unionist Party and Boris Johnson’s Conservative government has led to failed negotiations from the unionists to have the Northern Ireland protocol revisited and amended between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

History in Northern Ireland has proved when unionism fails to deliver politically loyalism tries to deliver violently.

Violence on the streets is not a generic response from grassroots unionism to the Northern Ireland protocol it is an orchestrated reaction from political unionism, the DUP and loyalist paramilitaries connected to the Loyalist Community Council comprising the Ulster Defence Association, the Ulster Volunteer Force and The Red Hand Commando.

While initially, sporadic violence occurred in the loyalist Waterside estate in Derry about 2-hours from Belfast about ten days ago, trouble erupted last Thursday in the Sandy Row – Shaftesbury square area close to Belfast city centre. Several police officers were injured and several arrests were made including a 13-year old boy. Some of those charged had ages ranging from 13- 28. None of these people would have been born into previous cycles of violence which many of us have witnessed since 1969. Violence has also been inherent in the state since 1921. The fact that the trouble yesterday on the Shankill Road was deliberately staged at the intercommunal interface between Lanark Way, which leads onto the loyalist Protestant Shankill Road and this connecting corridor which leads onto the Springfield Road which adjoins the Falls Road which is seen to be a nationalist Catholic Republican heartland proves orchestrated attempts are being made to foment inter-communal violence. A well-used trick by unionism over the decades.

Unionism is using loyalist paramilitaries to put pressure on a British government to renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol. Loyalist paramilitaries are using violence to put pressure on the police and the state to force concessions on the Northern Ireland protocol on behalf of Unionism.

In order to accentuate the violence, deliberate attempts are being made to provoke a reaction from the Catholic Nationalist  Republican Springfield Road and Falls Road areas by holding a protest directly on the peace Line destabilising both Communities and Society in general.

The fact that bottles and petrol bombs were allegedly deliberately thrown over the police line creating havoc on the Springfield Road leading to a Confrontation between Nationalist youths and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The Fragile peace established through the auspices of the Good Friday Agreement is hanging by its Fingertips.

The violence has been localised to date and has been sporadic with little numbers involved until yesterday when several hundred people converged on the Shankill Road at the peace line. Many of those most involved in violence at the peace Line were young and wore masks 

There are messages circulating on social media encouraging loyalist youths to gather this Friday in South Belfast and March on West Belfast in a show of strength. This may very well have the potential to lead to further violence on the Shankill Road and further afield. Violence at the interface is almost guaranteed as this March is deliberately designed to be provocative.

It is designed in my opinion to draw in Nationalist youth from the Falls and Springfield roads into a violent conflict. Then the loyalist’s will simply step back from the interface and encourage the police to engage in the repression of the nationalist community using force with water cannons, baton charges and plastic baton rounds.

Many might consider disregarding the violence being offered by small sections of the loyalist Unionist political and paramilitary machine as the last rattle of a dying political snake but this would be short-sighted. It is important that the state does not become involved in the sectarian repression of nationalist’s who may unwillingly be dragged into a violent confrontation with the state that is being staged, orchestrated and managed by paramilitary Godfathers in the various loyalist paramilitary organisations. It is a trap. 100 years ago the state of Northern Ireland was brought into being, it has been a one-party unionist state for the first 50 years of its Inception, the following 30 years saw the violent repression of nationalist civil rights and an armed campaign for National liberation.

For the last 20-years, we have had a kind of peace through the Good Friday Agreement. While this peace process is not perfect for many it is the only game in town and for unionists and loyalists to again use violence as a veto on progress towards the reunification of the island of Ireland is tantamount to a declaration of civil war.

This is a time for cool heads on the nationalist Republican side. People must be prepared to defend their homes and their properties, their lives and their communities but being sucked into a cycle of violence that is designed for that very purpose would be a mistake.

Springfield Road Belfast. Nationalist youths engage the Police after a provocative protest on the ShankilL Road turned violent. The smoke in the background is a Bus set on fire by Loyalist pro British protestors.

Friday and the weekend ahead will show us the direction unionism and loyalism are taking. They cannot return to the negotiating table as there is nothing to negotiate. The NI Protocol is going nowhere. If it is to be a continued round of sectarian violence with the marching season in July and the celebrations of 100 years of Unionist misrule then the summer of 2021 could be as bad as anything we have previously seen. It is very reminiscent of Drumcree in 1995 – 2000. The Anglo Irish Agreement of 1985, the Ulster Workers Council Strike 1974  or indeed around the events of the summer of 1969

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Two words Courage and Resilience Here are another two words Fiona and Niamh

By Fra Hughes

Two words Courage and Resilience Here are another two words Fiona and Niamh.

Sunday, March 28  2021 was week forty in Fiona Donohoe’s search for truth and justice into the disappearance and death of her beloved son Noah.On Sunday, June 21 2020.

The longest day of the year was transformed into her longest nightmare. The dark night of the soul when Fiona lost her only child.

Noah was just fourteen and attending St Malachy’s grammar school on the Antrim Road Belfast.

No parent ever wants to lose a child. Regardless of their age, circumstances and passing.

It is a tragedy that many may never recover from.

Fiona more than most has cause for her sorrow.

The circumstances of Noah’s death are still unclear with many unanswered questions.

The Police investigation seems incomplete, has answered very few questions around Noah’s disappearance and indeed has raised more questions than they seemed to have resolved.

All through this tragedy of not knowing, Fiona has been supported by her loving sister Niamh.

Two powerful courageous and resilient women at the forefront of the fight for truth and justice for Noah.

Fiona Niamh and Family pass Fortwilliam on the Antrim Road on their way to Belfast Castle

Noah disappeared one warm bright summer evening on his way to Belfast Castle.

After exhaustive searches by the local populace failed to find any trace of Noah, he was subsequently found dead in a storm drain several hundred meters from where Police believe he may have entered the tunnel.

Why he did this no one seems to know?

His personal items and clothing were discovered scattered here and there and some were missing.

They were later found in the possession of a local person who was subsequently brought before the courts in connection with theft by finding.

Conjecture by the Police and others are not facts and little eyewitness testimony has so far come to light.

The family of Noah Donohoe are not satisfied by the Police response and have led a campaign for full transparency into the policing inquiry and the circumstances surrounding Noah’s disappearance and death,

Their grief has touched nearly every corner of the country and further afield.

After the public searches for Noah and a car cavalcade for justice, this Sunday saw a white line picket from Belfast City Hall to Belfast Castle. Retracing a part of Noah’s last journey on the day he disappeared.

People gathered in the centre of the road to highlight this campaign. Stretching several miles.

Fiona and Niamh and their family walked symbolically from Belfast City Hall to Belfast Castle.

They thanked each person, man, woman and child who lined the route. Many cars traversed the route beeping horns, handing out bottles of water and encouragement to those who marked the way.

I met Niamh during the search for Noah on a Wednesday morning after he disappeared.

I was again able to chat briefly with her on Sunday when the assembled walkers gathered at Belfast Castle.

I have found Niamh and Fiona to be two beautiful people whose gratitude to all those seeking justice for Noah stands in the deepest of contrasts to the policing failures on display in this case.

The strength and dignity of these two remarkable women are exemplified in how they coped with their grief and loss while maintaining the campaign. Their genuine warmth towards all they meet and their compassion for others shines through.

Noah’s anniversary is only twelve short weeks away.

I hope and pray they get the answers we all seek.

I stand with Noah, Fiona and Niamh.

I stand with Noah’s Army. The public face of solidarity for the private heartache the family continue to endure.

I demand the police become fully transparent and honest in their dealings with the Donohoe family, the campaign and the rest of us.

I see the total lack of political support from the Justice Minister to be appalling and lacking in empathy, solidarity or compassion.

When elected ministers and politicians turn their back on those crying out for Justice I shudder to think where we are going as a society.

No Justice, No Peace, We want truth and full disclosure from the Police.

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