Concerned at falling recruitment rates to its army, air force and navy and spooked by growing disgust at its contemporary wars of conquest, Downing Street has decided on a propaganda stunt of ‘shock and awe’ proportions in the form of an official ‘Armed Forces Day’.
Rarely has the scene been better set for a display of jingoism than that which will occur on June 27 – the day chosen for the ‘honouring’ of one of the world’s most murderous militaries.
Last year, the United Nations estimated that the US-British led coalition in Afghanistan directly killed at least 2,000 civilians. This year that figure is expected to rise considerably.
In Iraq it is estimated that a minimum of one million Iraqis have lost their lives as a direct consequence of the US-British led invasion and occupation.
In graveyards across Ireland the names of those who have lost their lives at the hands of Britain’s military adorn countless headstones.
To be trampling on the graves of the global victims of British imperialist violence in London, Birmingham and Manchester is bad enough. To be doing so in Belfast and Carrickfergus only adds insult to injury for the hundreds of Irish families who have lost loved ones as a result of the actions of the British military.
For those who claim that the British military no longer have an active role in Britain’s occupation of Ireland the facts speak for themselves.
More than 5,000 British combat troops remain permanently stationed in military bases across occupied Ireland.
In 2007, the British army garrison in the Six Counties had its ‘emergency’ repressive powers of stop and search, arrest and property seizure legislated into permanency.
In 2009, it was announced that British army ‘special forces’ were once again operating in occupied Ireland – that is, if they had ever gone away.
In an Irish context, this is what British Armed Forces Day is all about – attempting to make the unacceptable acceptable.
Like the establishment of the puppet parliament at Stormont, the regular visits of Elizabeth Windsor and the parading of the RIR through Belfast in November 2008, Britain’s ‘Armed Forces Day’ will be used in a vain attempt to normalise the occupation of the Six Counties.
This is why éirígí will be actively opposing British Armed Forces Day. In the words of James Connolly: “Britain has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland and never can have any right in Ireland.”
The Six Counties are not and never will be part of the ‘United Kingdom’. They remain what they have always been – an integral part of Ireland’s national territory.
Those who would hope to use Britain’s ‘Armed Forces Day’ to demonstrate the ‘normality’ of the British occupation must be opposed. Days such as June 27 should become rallying points for supporters of Irish freedom and democracy.
Let the images of protest, resistance and dissent replace those of ‘normality’ and subjugation.