In Part II of ‘In Bloody Protest For A Glorious Thing’ I continue my thoughts on militant Republicanism in the context of ‘Heroic-Sacrifice’ and a mythic past to which the Patriot Dead added their names for ‘Ireland’s freedom’.
Ultimately what I wanted to do was look at the literary and historical sources extant in Irish Republicanism which informed its evolving ideology as well as providing PIRA volunteers with the mental tools whereby they could quite happily someone like myself while feeling wholly justified and unconcerned.
Maybe the oppressed learn from the brutal methodology of their oppressor? One thing I have come to understand – a long time ago – is that our conflict, the Troubles, is far from simply black and white. The interpretations of who is on the ‘Good side’ as opposed to who is on the ‘bad side’ is very subjective and depends on the narrator at the time.
This was an incredibly difficult episode for me to assemble, construct, and complete. My mental health took a bit of a bashing, but I think it remains therapeutic in some way?
Anyway, thank you again for your generosity of interest. In the next episode I would like to recount several occurrences which happened to me while in the RUC, but which may be a little more light-hearted than those proceeding.
Published by Writer of fiction about Irish terrorism and the lives it damages.
This trilogy of novels will be set during the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ I always wanted to read. Having changed an aspect of ancient history (Constantine chose Mithras over Christ in 312 CE) this ‘butterfly effect’ freed me of the fetters of recent history and able to craft a counter-factual novel. A tale of working-class lives caught up in the deadly maelstrom of sectarian violence. While the focus is on characterisation, ‘The Bitter End of Dreams’ explores internecine violence, as well as the beliefs and fears which drive ordinary people to murder. Young lives seduced into joining paramilitary organisations and committing terrible acts of violence. Elements such as protection rackets, and the shadow of political and religious leverage also loom within the story. While the primary religion, and some names, is different, the hatred and violence remains very real and familiar.
To date, most novels on the ‘Troubles’ have been post-conflict. My novel is set during the mid 1970s and fixes its gaze firmly upon the cramped terraces from where paramilitarism entraps young people, and, subtly, oppresses communities.
I recently retired after over thirty years service in the RUC and PSNI. I was exposed to a number of terrorist incidents in which colleagues and members of the public, sadly, lost their lives. My novel began as a part of therapy to manage my diagnosis of Complex PTSD. While ‘The Bitter End of Dreams’ focuses on one side of the community, a second novel will explore the opposing community. A final novel will be written from a policing perspective. I have also written a number of poems centering on the pain and grief which continues to ripple from the ‘Troubles’. During my service I have striven to understand the ideologies of both Irish and Northern Irish paramilitaries: how they justify murder and extortion. To do this I have spoken to many paramilitaries - on both sides of the conflict. I hope my novel sheds a little light upon the dark heart of religious violence; not only in terms of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’, but also on a global context.
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