The fusion in Ireland of Catholicism and Republicanism has birthed what is without doubt Irish Republicanism’s most powerful weapon, the will to fight the most fundamental form of warfare in the suffering of the body — an extreme form of non-violence that at once stuns the oppressor and offers the oppressed the most sublime and sacred icon of resistance, the martyr. No empire in the history of human civilisation has been able to defeat the heroic martyred dead.
Christopher McEleny’s response – ‘I do not need a lecture on Irish history from you’ – was, one supposes, the best possible reply to this level of stupidity. McEleny had commented that a century ago Ireland departed from the United Kingdom when Sinn Féin, after winning a landslide majority in the 1918 general election, formed An Chéad Dáil Éireann (the First Irish Parliament) in Dublin and declared Irish independence. Yes, this happened. This was how Ireland – like the United States of America in 1776 – asserted its freedom from British colonial domination.
This is the temple before the altar of which another Rebel could intone: “I say to my people’s masters: Beware! Beware of the thing that is coming, beware of the risen people who shall take what ye would not give.” And this is, at least in part, the meaning of Wolfe Tone’s grave; that its incompleteness is the promise of completion, that this is not over – that Ireland’s enemy should take heed. Something “is coming.” This grave in Bodenstown is not pretty. Its symbolism and meaning are dark – nightmarishly dark, but they are necessary.
We are weakened by this prevailing middle-class opinion that we can succeed using England’s Queensberry rules. The Scottish independence movement is a threat to the British state and London will fight us with every disgusting perversion, lie, and violence it can muster. It will change the rules to suit its own purposes at every turn. Its papers will tell lies, twist the truth, blacken us, and criminalise us. They will, and without conscience, put in print lies that will see us mobbed on the pavements and soon enough – if we do not wake up – drowning in pools of our own blood...
How marvellous will it be to think, in a free and independent Scotland, that the final phase of our journey began with a picnic in the capital? I can tell you, that will be the most beautiful thing – the bun fight that sent London packing. This coming Saturday I am going to Edinburgh. I am going to walk through our ancient capital. I am going to take in the sights. And I am going to walk to Holyrood Park for a picnic. After I have scoffed my pieces and drained my flask I am going to stand up and talk to my friends. If anyone wants to stop me, they had better bring an army.
Britain does not exists except for them and their brain-dead enthrallment to ideas of imperial might, racial and cultural supremacy, and the pomp and pageantry of monarchy – ideas the concretisation of which in the form of London rule enslaves and impoverishes them as much as it does the rest of us. Britain – as an imagined community – does not exist outside of their imaginations. So long as they are troubled by this disease London will use them to maintain about us the prison walls of HM Prison Britannia. Nothing will cure them of this sickness.
Yes, we too are a risen people. This was not the final end of us. Our story does not end here. We are only at the beginning of our story.
It never became the Workers Republic that existed in full flower for a single week in Dublin in 1916, but that is not to say that it cannot be born again. What I saw at the GPO tonight only informed me of the urgency of the need for its rebirth.