“Anti-Royal Visit” Protest in Belfasto

I am on my way home from a Éirigí organised protest at the visit of Charles Windsor to Ireland. Of course Éirigí and I are hardly soul mates but I think it was important for a republican-nationalist socialist like myself to attend.

image

I have to say I was disappointed at the turnout. It deserved better. This is maybe evidence of the extent that Sinn Féin prevails in West Belfast. Now effectively a one-party State. Thru Politics and “community groups”, Sinn Féin is dominant. Just one year ago, Sinn Féin organised a protest at this very spot….The International Wall at Divis Street to protest the detention of Gerry Adams for questioning by PSNI.

Talk about priorities.

Shortly after I took this photograph, the small group of protesters…I say no more than fifty people moved across the road and gathered at the traffic light (foreground) where just one person spoke. I wont name him as I dont have his permission to so do.

Obviously Éirigí are protesting the very presence of “Prince” Charles in Ireland. And indeed drew attention to the long tradition of British “Royal” intervention going back to 1169. And indeed the negative and homicidal and genocidal role that the British Empire has had on the world. There were at least three coffin-shaped placards labelled “Iraq”, “Afghanistan” and “Ireland”. The short speech concluded with the words of James Connolly.

The protestors will be dismissed as cranks….or in Sinn Féin terms “enemies of the Peace Process”. But in this instance they deserve better.

I heard nothing thaat a republican of any nuance including SDLP and Sinn Féin could disagree with. Of course there was criticism of the Sinn Féin Leadership.

But I think beyond Éirigís position there are plenty of other issues. The spin put on that “handshake” by the English Media paints Charles Windsor in a much better light than Gerry Adams. Thats to be expected but the image remains of a noble and grieving man who dutifully shook hands with the bloodsoaked hand of a “terrorist”. Thats not the image Sinn Féin sought and very naive of their strategists to think they would come out of the photo opportunity looking as good as Charlie.

My own basic objection is that this was …like the visit of President Obama…little more than “optics”. Dutifully these VIP visitors …Obama, Elizabeth Windsor, Charles Windsor and the rest of us patronise us with a few words in Irish, a verse from Seamus Heaney or WB Yeats, sip a Guinness, watch a performance of Riverdance and go home.

And further this was not about Peace with Justice.

Gerry Adams has no right to be talking to Charles Windsor, the unapologetic Colonel in Chief of the Parachute Regiment before the issue of the Ballymurphy Massacre is addressed. And purely from a unionist point of view there will be bewilderment at their future Head of State of Britain selling them out.

Gerry Adams needs to reconcile himself with less prominent people than Charles Windsor.

Likewise Charles Windsor needs to recomcile himself with less prominent people than Gerry Adams.

Once again ORDINARY people are sold down the river in the name of Conflict Resolution.

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9 Responses to “Anti-Royal Visit” Protest in Belfasto

  1. Kevin says:

    According to the reports, which seem credible enough, Gerry Adams requested to have a meeting and photo op with the Prince. And the other parties, FG and FF actually tried to stop this happening, as they wanted to be the only ones to meet him. But Buckingham Palace wanted to let Adams meet him, and that’s what happened. I also noticed that Adams seemed to hold on to Charles hand for a very long time, perhaps because he knew the full clip would be on TV and that would give him a lot more time in the news report.

    Apparently SF regret being left out of the protocol when the Queen came in 2012.

    Its interesting to see how keen the parties in Dublin are to meet with the royal family, and even now to the point were they don’t want SF to meet him.

    I suppose the next Historic meeting will be between Gerry Adams and the Queen. That will surely come to pass?

    Strange times!

    • Aye.
      In a sense British Royalty are “celebrities”. More like Justin Bieber than Politicians.
      Certainly FG, Labour FF have an interest in keeping SF away from “respectability”.

  2. sammymcnally says:

    Very good speech by Prince Charles. Adams was correct to meet him in my opinion. It seems ludicrous to suggest that SF would not meet Charles over his association with the parachute regiment as we Irish (North and South) have signed up to ‘peace’ as we voted for the GFA and SF would have very few people to speak to if their activities were used a pre-text for not meeting/talking.

    The lets-not-get-alongerists protesting in Belfast are quite entitled to do so as they don’t accept the GFA – and it is good that they did so peacefully – but I don’t know how you can seriously suggest that ‘conflict resolution’ is somehow a negative thing?

    We ‘all’ have anti-royal feelings but promoting that to some sort of principled stand whilst simultaneously supporting the SDLP who actually take an oath of loyalty to yer man’s ma over in Westminster – shows considerable malleability of principle.

    • It cant be long before SF take the oath.
      Conflict Resolution is obviously a good thing…beating any alternative.
      But this is Resolution without Justice. Without Truth.

    • I have to say I thought parts of the speech were a bit mendacious. More of the same thing we heard from the British head of state in Dublin Castle than sent the Seoníní into orgasms of delight: “The bloody nature of Irish history was equally the fault of the Irish and the British, we must share the blame together, so we’ll forgive you if you forgive us”.

      To which I reply “Fuck you and your false equivalence.” No we are not equally to blame, any more than a woman is equally to blame with her rapist by virtue of “being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” It’s victim shaming revisionism.

      I understand the circumstances of Charles’ speech but the British have yet to make an explicit, unqualified apology for Britain’s role on our island nation. Everything else falls into the category of circumlocution.

      • Nail On The Head.
        British Crimes against Ireland were committed in ….Ireland!!!
        The nonsense at the heart of Conflict Resolution here is that we are all victims and we are all responsible.
        That is a Mathematical “soolution”….make it all 50-50 and nobody has to think.
        While individual incidents can be looked at….in Irish History terms, the lynchings of loyalists in Wexford 1798 or the massacre at Droogheda 1649…..or any specific incident in the Troubles….Bloody Sunday or Claudy….
        There can be doubt about the BIG PICTURE. The balance of RIGHT/WRONG is in the Irish favour.
        We cant sacrifice Truth for Peace.

  3. sammymcnally says:

    Sionn,

    The British like their empire and are not about to start telling the world it was an evil crusade against Ireland or anywhere else.

    The old hierarchy of victims and the hierarchy of historical guilt malarkeys are a bit of a waste of time. I’m personally not interested in any British apologies. Cameron’s apology for Bloody Sunday for example – heartfelt though it may have been at times – was an exercise in avoiding the political implications of situation.

    The language used by Prince Charles was generous as was the language of Gerry Adams.

    FJH,

    SF don’t currently take their seats – rightly in my opinion – and criticising SF for being polite to Charles and his mum is far less anti-Republican than the SDLP taking an oath. If you are concerned about a handshake then if you are being consistent – then you must be really jumping up and down about the SDLP swearing an oath in Westminster?

    • I think its entirely right to be polite to anyone.
      Its the “toadying” I cant stand.

      • sammymcnally says:

        FJH,

        what specific aspects of the arrangements – which specifically related to SF – amounted to ‘toadying’?

        Specifics are good – after all if, as a committed lets-not-get-alongerist like yourself (lol), it is always easy to find fault if you put your mind to it.

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