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Riot Madness

2.27.2006

I spent the weekend in the far reaches of the universe, away from a computer and reliant on RTE for news of the riots. I have at once to agree with Richard Delevan, if Newstalk mobilised a host of reporters and got to grips with a real story which was important to Dubliners and the country at large, which I hadnt realised they did, then RTE ought to be ashamed of themselves. Its not like there was even an irish team playing yesterday to justify the decision to go with sport ahead of the serious analysis needed of a serious and impactful incident. The people outside of a select distance of Dublin were sold short of their license fee as sport (if it was so important) could go to MW/LW and coverage initiated on FM.

I am disappointed in the decision of the national broadcaster to go with the programming they did and as a listener beyond the pale for a day, feel let down. And if it werent for the poll they are carrying today, the Post are equally as bad, selling readers short.

I feel that the bloggers in the irish sphere, were suffering no such issues however as the breadth and quality of coverage is incredible.

The lads who decided to defend the honour of our nation against the vile pillaging hordes of "PROTESTANTS!!!!"..."ULSTER PROTESTANTS!!!!!"..."THE WORST KIND"... were idiots. Our nation needs only defending from the persistent nastiness that seems to succour so close to the vile and reactionary forces at the margins of Irish republicanism. There is not a snowballs chance in hell that yesterday could be classified as political action. Last time I looked, so much of our politics owes its life to some of the figures adorning O Connell Street. Great men, leaders of men, but above all honest men.

Protest is one thing, a running battle against an "enemy" who retreated to their buses and a Garda force paradoxically charged with protecting the spectators as much as the marchers is outright thuggery. I wasnt altogether surprised to hear the first reports of looting (first heard in the country round five or six o clock thanks to the overtime put in at Montrose). I might have found an issue or two with the parade if I really tried, and to be honest, I have taken no notice of it since the time it was mooted by that lad Willy something or other.

Obviously these lads hadnt thought about the marches either, simply outlawed their right to march. They may not agree but the government of the day and ultimate guardian of our rights (though some may dislike it so) deemed the right and eligibility of this march to proceed. So proceed it should have. If for no other reason than to underline our plurality, and forge a new chapter in the path to peace and reconciliation. As Saint has so correctly argued, that test is failed (and hes right about the rest too, great post).

Yet it is clear that this state is not the homogenous unit of tolerance we would all agree it needs to be, ought to be. Dick has provided ample evidence of this. There is still a vast community of disaffected and marginalised Irish people. Men and women who condone violence against others in a manner which serves only to promote further violence, this was not some romantic revolt against to occupying forces. In this city, they are visitors. Here to make a point and seek to make a petition to our politicians. We ulitmately hold power over our governments decisions so we can be assured our views will be taken into account. We may seek to make the opposite case, but at all times we must seek to make peace. The irish on all sides of the border, for irish they be, must live in peace. Without peace all is lost, we are cast back to the Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all.

Thankfully yesterday's riot was akin to one hand clapping. It left people injured, shocked, apalled and reflecting on our own society, but it was not a riot of two sides. There was only one side intent on rioting yesterday and to the shame of all of us, it was neo-Republicans.

Do you know what would have really prevented all this? ID cards.

RR
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