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by Irvine Forgan
“He was a bad scribe because in reality he was ‘remaking’ the text” — Antonio Gramsci
This discussion focuses the signifying and ideological values articulated in the contrasting instances of the euphemistically named ‘peace walls’ and modes of mural expression. Although each instance is distinct from the other they contain mutually affecting variables.
With their arrival in the north of Ireland in 1969 the British army constructed sand banks along lines separating Catholic and Protestant residential areas in west Belfast and areas of Derry.  These frontiers have in the present time reconfigured as invitations for the communities’ to cooperate in building hegemonic legitimacy of the 1998 Belfast Agreement. However a code precluding the formation of a collective identity between nationalist Catholic neighbourhoods and loyalist Protestant ones is written into the peace wall discourse inasmuch as its conflictual structure invites the community on either side to contest the other through asserting its own narrative. This becomes evident in the discord between the postmodern rhetoric of diversity, inclusiveness, and liberation of personal taste attributed to the cultural discourse in the new Northern Ireland, and the prescriptive policies and programmatic strategies prescribed by the new law of the Belfast Agreement. One such programme strategy inures the discourse through the aesthetic themetization of the peace walls with state sponsored imagery. The return to popular taste strategized in the imagery produced on these walls is in fact a state sponsored mise-en scene.
On the Bombay Street side of the Cupar Way wall, many Catholic houses and businesses back directly on to the wall. Metal grids provide limited protection to these homes and businesses. The site of the Clonard Memorial and Bombay Street mural which engages with the violent events of August 1969 that occurred in the street and elsewhere in Belfast is located against the wall on this side. The mural, painted on the gable end of the rebuilt terraced estate in Bombay Street, prior to the introduction of the re-imaging programme explores the violence that occurred in the street and surrounding areas during August 1969. Angry red flames leap from burning homes; a woman holds a child to her bosom; figures are shown in silhouette. A photograph of the innocent face of a young boy Gerald McCauley is shown in an oval frame with the writing alongside—Dedicated to the memory of Fianna Gerald McCauley. Below, in the format of a film strip, reproduced photographs show burned out homes, grey building rubble and a deserted street. These images contrast sharply with the red and orange flames and provide narrativized access to the aftermath of the violence. Above the scene are the words in bold—Bombay Street Never Again.
On Belfast’s map, Bombay Street is a site of particular significance, recognized as a Read the rest of this entry
Just a short note on the future of the blog.
In the past, up til about a year ago, I tried to get heaps of stuff up on the site and cover lots of small things that were happening in Ireland. However, it’s proved to not be possible to keep doing this and attempting to do so has become exhausting and also gotten in the way of having time (and energy) to get up more substantial stuff.
So, from now on, I won’t be making any attempt to cover various events as they happen within Ireland. Instead I’ll put in links to stories on particular struggles maybe once a week – or once a fortnight if not much is happening at any time – from socialist-republican sites. They have members on the ground involved in these struggles and do much more ongoing articles on them than I ever could.
Instead I’m going to concentrate on:
- Historical material
Occasional in-depth work on particular contemporary issues of Irish politics and political economy
At the end of this year, I’ll also review whether it’s worth continuing the blog.
In the meantime, I’m really keen to run book and film reviews that anyone might fancy contributing, anything on the Irish economy/ies, the new political dispensation in the six counties, historical material, etc etc.
One of the main areas covered by Redline is the struggle for Palestinian liberation and, within that context, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. A number of us at Redline were engaged a few years ago in a campaign to raise funds for the PFLP. A campaign which, sadly, no longer exists. However, it managed to raise several thousand dollars in its only too-brief existence.
The Palestine/PFLP connection also fits neatly with this blog because of the solidarity between éirígí and the PFLP. Indeed, it was an earlier incarnation of Redline which was able to put éirígí in touch with Leila Khaled and the PFLP, although Leila has been banned from entering the twenty-six counties (ironically, she has been able to enter Britain – another case of the neocolonial lackeys sometimes being worse than their imperialist masters!).
Anyway, this is a plug for the Redline coverage of Palestinian and PFLP material, as I keep this site for specifically Irish material.
Below are a few pieces:
Remembering George Habash: Palestinian revolutionary intellectual and freedom fighter: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/remembering-george-habash/
For a world free of racism, imperialism and capitalist exploitation – message from PFLP to 2014 éirígí conference: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/for-a-world-that-is-free-of-racism-colonialism-imperialism-oppression-and-capitalist-exploitation-pflp-message-to-eirigi-conference
Palestinian liberation and the PFLP today – interview with PFLP deputy-general-secretary: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/palestinian-liberation-and-the-pflp-today-an-interview-with-abu-ahmad-fouad-deputy-secretary-general-of-the-pflp/
PFLP on the Palestinian Authority: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/pflp-on-the-palestinian-authority/
NZ solidarity activist interview with Palestinian revolutionary icon Leila Khaled: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/nz-solidarity-activist-interviews-leila-khaled-2010/
Also, check out the Palestine and PFLP categories on the site.
Wed, Feb 11:
éirígí condemns the arrest of another four people, including a fourteen year old child, this morning in relation to a legitimate anti-Water Tax protest in Jobstown last year. With twelve arrests over the last three days it is now clear that the state is attempting to criminalise the largest mass movements of recent decades.
Attempts to criminalise legitimate political struggle have a long history in Ireland. For centuries those attempts have failed and they will fail again on this occasion. We extend our solidarity to all of those who have been arrested over recent days and repeat our call for the closure of all criminal investigations into the Joan Burton protest.
Below are the 20 most hit-on pieces on the blog. The top two – on women’s rights and the national struggle 1916-1922 and the aftermath of the 1972 British Army’s Bloody Sunday massacre – both have almost 3,500 hits.
Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922
The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on
Politics and the rise of historical revisionism
Saor Eire – Marxist and republican
Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography
A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three
The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century
The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’
Chapter 4: The Home Rule Crisis
Republicanism and the national independence struggle, 1916-21
Interview with veteran socialist-republican Gerry Ruddy
In review: Joost Augusteijn on Patrick Pearse
The Rossville Street (Derry) Bloody Sunday murals
The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921
Remembering Máirín Keegan, 1932-1972
A history of the Provos – part three
The Re-Imaging Programme in the six counties
A History of the Provos – part two of three
Remembering Peter Graham, 1945-1971
Interview with Jim Lane: veteran socialist-republican