14 September 2015
Adams' blog gives insight, but not in a way he intends
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
if you want more evidence that Gerry Adams is not a modest man, consider that he named his blog Leargas, which means insight, discernment or vision.
Turning to my trusty Irish-English dictionary to provide a handy example of how the word is used, I saw: "Leargas a thabhairt to dhuine ar rud", which means "to enlighten someone on something".
Every time a new instalment lands in my inbox, I open it with mild dread, for I know it will be short on enlightenment and long on dullness, nauseating folksiness, blame culture and propaganda masquerading as wisdom.
In fairness to Adams, lecturers in ethics, psychology, politics and history would find him a rich source when teaching students about such personality and organisational defects as injustice collecting, confirmation bias and virtue flashing.
Most of us could be accused of occasionally displaying such tendencies, but Adams is a master.
Injustice collecting is an unfortunate republican trait, which was brought to an art in the mid-19th century by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and has been practised enthusiastically since by their ideological heirs.
In commemorations, songs, poems, and all manner of words and images, real and imagined, grievances have been collected, invented and exaggerated by generations of clever republican activists to poison the minds of the young. Professor Liam Kennedy memorably christened this the "Most Oppressed People Ever" (Mope) syndrome.
Along with this method goes confirmation bias, the selective use of information. On Friday, Leargas offered Adams' Andersonstown News article on the latest crisis, which produced in the first paragraph a classic example.
"This week 21 years ago, the IRA announced its 'complete cessation of military operations'." This "momentous decision" had provided "as Seamus Heaney insightfully put it at the time, a 'space in which hope can grow'".
Adams then went straight on to blame John Major, Jim Molyneaux and Ian Paisley for the slow progress that followed and then skipped on to the present politics of unionism.
Here are a few things he left out. Throughout 1995, posing as Direct Action Against Drugs - in whose name "Jock" Davison and Kevin McGuigan would kill more recently - the IRA murdered several alleged drug dealers.
Blaming John Major, the IRA broke the ceasefire in February 1996 in Canary Wharf in London with an enormous bomb that murdered two newsagents.
A week later, 21-year-old Edward O'Brien blew himself up on a London bus transporting a bomb; in June, Garda Jerry McCabe was shot dead in Limerick; in October, Warrant Officer James Bradwell was blown up in Thiepval Barracks; in February 1997, a sniper killed Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick; and in June - the month before the ceasefire - Constables Roland Graham and David Johnston were shot in the back of their heads.
All this death and destruction seems to have slipped Adams' memory completely. He's too busy complaining about the cynicism of the UUP and the DUP in causing a crisis in their competitive search for electoral advantage.
Down south, apparently, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour are guilty of "setting aside the imperative of peace in order to ally themselves with the northern unionist parties to attack Sinn Fein. This is short-term, narrow, party-political self-interest taking precedence over the peace process". And this from the man whose obsessive focus on the imminent general election in the Republic caused Sinn Fein to do a U-turn on the Stormont House Agreement and (possibly fatally) undermine the Executive.
This "virtue flashing" about peace is a standard ploy. On Adams' Twitter account you'll see a fetching photograph of him, Martin McGuinness, Caral Ni Chuilin and Mary Lou McDonald, with the accompanying tweet, "All we are saying is give peace a chance".
There's another of Adams, McGuinness and various other usual suspects at the Sinn Fein "think-in" on Friday.
"Ian Paisley had no doubts about Sinn Fein's commitment to peace, says Martin McGuinness" was the tweet.
Maybe it's fitting that a man who had such a malign effect on Northern Ireland for most of his life should be posthumously used for electoral advantage by the people who tried so hard to destroy it.
But on planet Leargas, no one cares about peace, except the people who brought us war.
Ruth Dudley Edwards