Saturday, February 4, 2012

Brendan Hughes on British occupation

I often think about how much those whose countries US capitalism has invaded must feel about it.  When I think of the destruction and slaughter Washington and a few  flunkies like the the Blairites have inflicted on Iraq.  They destroyed the infrastructure, the power and water supply, the medical institutions etc. A country that never threatened or harmed the US in any way, just the opposite, it has been US arms and money that allowed Washington's puppet, Hussein torture and maim for three decades. I always imagine what we would do with a foreign invader offering candy to our kids. Sure, take the stuff, smile and if he's stupid enough to turn his back, shoot the bastard.

I hunted this piece down in my files written by former IRA man Brendan Hughes who has since died.  It hits the nail right on the head.  If you haven't read "Ten Men Dead, about the Irish hunger strikers demanding political prisoner status, it's worth reading.


In revolution there are two types of people: those who make it and those who
profit from it.  Napoleon I

Brendan Hughes

It is easy to lift a gun. It is even easy to fire it. When you see the body
of a 17-18 year old it is not so easy.

We were young. They were young too. The British Government sent them onto the
streets of Belfast. The IRA sent us out to oppose them. I took no pleasure
seeing a young Englishman lying on the street. But I admit to taking pleasure
from taking on the might of the British Empire.

Most of the kids who died here knew nothing of why they were here. The bulk
of them came from poor working class families just like our own. I remember
one time in McDonnell Street a young British soldier had been left behind by
his foot patrol. He was only 18. I was not at the scene but soon received
word that the IRA had captured a British soldier and were holding him
captive. In those days we did not have radio communication. By the time I
arrived at McDonnell Street the 18 year old soldier was already dead. He had
been shot dead by a 17 year old IRA volunteer. I regret to this day that I
was unable to stop his death.

We had no desire to kill kids whether in uniform or not. But it was kids who
fought this war on both the British and Irish sides. I was never filled with
hatred for other human beings. I did not hate the English people. I hated
what the British Government did to my country.

Today I left my flat which is situated near the top of the high rise complex
in which I live. When I reached the ground floor I met three armed British
soldiers waiting to take over the lift. No one is allowed to use our lift
when the British soldiers change guard. But the lift was put there for the
residents not an occupying army.

It is not easy to swallow it. If you live in London or New York, could you
feel indifferent, if you were to walk out of your home to be confronted by a
number of armed foreigners who insist on telling you what you may and may not
do? I don't think so.

As I walked up the Falls and past the commemorative garden built to honour
the dead volunteers who had given their lives resisting the repression
inflicted by the British Army I thought to myself that despite all the
promises and new arrangements, the British hadn't gone away, you know.

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