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Sunday 3 February 2013

Provo apologists are taking leaf out of Orwell's '1984'

There's no difference between the murders of Jerry McCabe and Adrian Donohoe, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

LAST week was a week when Gerry Adams, who insists he was never in the IRA, apologised for the IRA's murder of Garda Jerry McCabe. In the same week, nice middle-class Mary Lou McDonald, graduate in English Literature, European Integration Studies and Human Resource Management, who certainly was never in the IRA, explained that when it came to killing, there was a clear distinction between gardai and members of the RUC, who were combatants in a conflict.

Actually, Mary Lou, when Garda McCabe was murdered, he was as much a 'combatant' in a 'conflict' between his State and Provo terrorism, as were his Northern Ireland police counterparts.

You're playing those Orwellian language-games again!

I recently wrote an essay on the IRA and Orwell for a volume called The Orwell Brigade, and was unex-pectedly surprised by the extent to which the IRA and its propaganda techniques reflected those of the totalitarian Oceania in Orwell's 1984. Of course things are rather different now since the IRA's propaganda techniques have been adopted by Mary Lou and her ilk – which is why they say the things they do.

In Oceania, Big Brother, who probably didn't exist, was the embodiment of the Party, whose Inner Party had total control: the IRA's equivalent was P O'Neill, an invisible entity who signed all the statements of the Army Council. As in Oceania, the IRA kept its Outer Party (the paramilitary and Sinn Fein middle-managers) content with patronage, and its supporters (proles) happy by encouraging them to hate. I've seen ordinary people lashed into a frenzy of loathing by the rhetoric of IRA mouthpieces spewing venom in the style of Big Brother's denunciations of rival power-blocs Eurasia or Eastasia.

In Oceania, when the proles needed galvanising, a new poster appeared representing "simply the monstrous figure of a Eurasian soldier, three or four metres high, striding forward with expressionless Mongolian face and enormous boots, a submachine gun pointed from his hip".

When the demonisation of Orangemen was at its height in the mid-Nineties, in west Belfast there appeared an enormous mural. Bearing the heading "Not all traditions deserve respect", it featured a hooded and robed Ku Klux Klan horseman with an orange sash riding across a green landscape littered with skulls, and rocks daubed with the names of the places where republicans had been deliberately provoking confrontations over parades.

In Oceania, there was a Ministry of Love (Miniluv) to brainwash and torture, a Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty) in charge of famine, a Ministry of Truth (Minitrue) which disseminated lies and rewrote history and a Ministry of Peace (Minipax) to wage war.

Like Miniluv, the IRA rooted out suspected dissidents, malcontents and informers, exiling and maiming some and torturing and killing others. In the case of some embarrassments like Jean McConville – who has inconsiderately come back to embarrass Gerry Adams – they were vaporised and became unpersons.

The IRA's Miniplenty promised supporters a larger share of the good things of life, yet murdered businessmen, blew up factories and shops and so destroyed job prospects.

And by facilitating fraud, counterfeiting, money laundering, robbery and smuggling, it created a class of armed criminals who are undermining the security of the entire island.

Minitrue is still alive and well and rewriting history with the help of Newspeak, the language that enforces conformity and discourages debate. Republicans denounce revisionists (those of us who change our mind in the light of facts), but are the daddies and mammies of revisionism (in the sense of turning history on its head for political expediency).

It is Minitrue's small army that keeps on top of Wikipedia, altering, deleting and adding what suits, which frightens off critics and which insists that the IRA was fighting for civil rights, not a United Ireland.

Minitru so brilliantly played with concepts like 'a hierarchy of victims', that in due course dead terrorists were given parity of esteem with the people they murdered.

Like Minitrue, Minipax speaks fluent Newspeak, which is how so many came to see as peace-makers IRA leaders who knew the game was up, while seeing their critics as warmongers.

As that great Belfast journalist Lindy McDowell once put it: "Just because I never killed anyone doesn't mean I'm a bad person."

And just because more than 270 of the Northern Ireland police were murdered by the IRA doesn't make them bad either.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards