I am a child of division brought up in a world that thankfully doesn’t exist anymore , outside of the incoherent, and feverish daydreams of a minority of both and green men ,who would rather burn the world down than swallow their toxic ideas of masculinity and build it up together as brothers.
My father ,Des Mc Alea ,was a member and survivor of the Miami show band massacre which , now in part thanks to a world of instant consumerism, now has a Netflix documentary series.
let’s put Northern Ireland squarely in the picture before we begin , of the 650 seats in the English House of Commons it accounts for 18 seats and it houses approximately 3% of the English population.
Northern Ireland ,Despite its size and relative inconsequence , it is once again on politicians lips as we discuss Brexit / the Irish backstop and a possible hard border.
I am not here to beat a dead horse, promote conspiracy theories as per Stephen travers or ride the wave, what I will say is that the old way didn’t work and countless individuals on both sides of the fences , innocent or otherwise were hurt unnecessarily.
I am here to talk about the effects terrorism ,in all its forms, impacts the generations that follow based on my own experiences .
Currently the worlds news cycles are focused on “the war on terror” but what about when those terrorists and their victims aren’t so far from home as was the case in Ireland and what if you are seen as “the terrorist” or “the problem” when you always just saw yourself as you.
I was born two years after the horrific events of the Miami show-band massacre and yet their effects were instrumental in how I developed , my influences and how I influenced the world around me, my family structure and how I raise my own son.
My father , while very loving , suffered from what we would now call PTSD ,the sound of a car backfiring would have him ducking under a table ,shaking.
Initially what I saw as weakness helped define who I became as a man as I later learnt that Despite his fear my got up and ran thru the fields to a main road to wave down a car to get to newry station so that he could alert the police and in so doing save Stephen travers life. Sadly for Brian , Tony and Fran it was too late.
His true strength and bravery were lost on me till I was much older and had learnt that true strength is not in dominating and controlling but being of service, doing the right thing , even if it terrifies you and being true to yourself and your values.
My bother , traumatized as his innocence and the safety of his young years was ripped away from him developed a hard and brutal streak to cope with the world around him. Years later this would lead him to straddle my chest equipped with a knife while I slept , waking me from my sleep as he rhythmically ,and deliberately slowly stabbed from left to right as he told me the world is full of evil people and I need to be tough to face them.
My mother , forced to leave Ireland to protect her family due to the constant death threats , given that my father had testified against The UVF perpetrators , hated being away from the family she so Desperately loved in Ireland and eventually passed from Cancer.while there is no medical consensus on this , I believe this was due to suffering years of heart break from having to be so far away from those she loved that slowly killed her.
And lastly there was me , stuck in the middle of a isolationist father who could not face the outside world without a mask , a brother who Could not face the world unless Incensed with aggression and a mother who desperately wanted to be at home with her loved ones but could not be , so there we were in Africa a lost tribe , adrift on the winds of fate ,cast aside by the cruel morari, a joke for the gods.
I chose to became what everyone wanted me to be so as to keep the peace. I sided with all ,sat on every fence and and never developed my own personality or opinions till my mid 30s after much therapy. If your always afraid you will avoid conflict at all costs and agree with everyone , that too is a great tragedy as for a large portion of my life I did not live my own beliefs or values.
That was the cost of terrorism on me ,it’s initial impact to my family was forceful , willful and resounding In it’s rage. However it’s ripples cascaded out across the generations. I thankfully do not hold any Ill will to the any of parties that may have been involved but I could see how these acts could twist the hearts of some and create a whole new generation of hatred, if those fires are stoked in youth.
Stephen travers has done a good job investigating various theories but Do I buy the conspiracy as detailed in the documentary that M16 was involved or that Robert Nairac was the British officer in charge (the great bogey man of countless unsolved cases in Northern Ireland ), no I do not.
Do I buy that there was collusion between the PSNI , UVF and the government of Northern Ireland and at the very least by proxy the parliament at Westminster, Yes
The documentary we see on Netflix , while a good message , only points fingers at the same old ghosts , stirs up the same old fears and doesn’t offer any closure to the victims families.
Does it offer a message of hope and forgiveness or build up the ideal of a united Ireland where Irish and English work together regardless of differences hand in hand for the betterment of both Ireland and England. No.
I feel it is guilty of irresponsibly stoking the same fires of hatred just from the other side this time. the history of the troubles is mired in tit for tat, there was a much bigger story of forgiveness and understanding to be told thru the surviving family members than Netflix shows.
The world has changed , millennials are a different generation , we will not accept the mistakes of the past being repeated out of pride and arrogance, we cannot return to the past we can only move forward to a new tomorrow.
We demand the truth , not to punish or chastise but to heal , to be better , to do better , to give every family a chance at a happy life for the sake of our children and our children’s children.
What is Ireland ?
it’s an ideal ,a concept that trembles at each breath of air, it’s everything and nothing , it’s the north it’s the south , it’s one people regardless of creed, views or politics at the end we will all stand together as one on this tiny piece of rock adrift in the waves surrounded by the crashing waves regardless of our perceived differences.
Haven’t the families on both sides suffered enough ? When will it end ? When are we free to just be ourselves , when can we stand shoulder to shoulder , arm in arm and say brother or sister I am here with you and for you
After a life marked by these events Of turmoil and pain, I have learnt regardless of who we are we all suffer , we are all the same, there is no one truth , there is no one way and there is no one answer. The only thing of importance is in how we behave towards and treat our fellow man despite our individual beliefs and values .As Irishmen we could of and should have done better. Thankfully the future gives us that chance.