Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Resist Normalisation – Oppose Armed Forces Day

Britain's Armed Forces Day takes place this Saturday (June 26). As well as the many triumphalist and jingoistic parades and events that are taking place throughout Britain, events to mark Armed Forces Day are disgracefully to be held in a number of locations within the occupied six counties here in Ireland. Amongst the events on Saturday to mark this occasion will be the raising of a British military flag over Belfast City Hall.

If we were to believe the official Armed Forces Day website, the day is “an annual opportunity for the nation to Show Your Support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community”.

Indeed earlier this week British Prime Minister David Cameron was also urging people to support Armed Forces Day and wave the union jack. Cameron claimed that “there is huge respect for the Armed Forces community out there, and I want that expressed more loudly and more proudly. As someone once said, silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone – so next Saturday I hope we see an explosion of red, white and blue all over the country.”

Contrary to Cameron's suggestion, the Irish people do not have 'huge respect' for the British army. Contempt would be a more apt description of Irish peoples views of a military force responsible for Bloody Sunday and many other massacres in Ireland and around the world.

Cameron also needs to be reminded also that the six counties are not his country. They are an integral part of our national terroritory. They are not now and never will be a part of Britain.

British troops have no right to be here in any part of our country. For Irish republicans and nationalists, Armed Forces Day is a deliberate insult to those who suffered at the hands of the British army throughout their occupation which continues to this day. It is an insult to all the families of those who were murdered directly by the British army or by loyalist death squads acting in collusion with the British army.

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey described the 'celebrations' as obscene and an attempt to normalise the continued occupation of our country.

Casey said: “There most definitely is nothing to 'celebrate' about one of the world's most murderous military forces.”

The British army record in Ireland has been a lengthy, shameful and bloody one. Their occupation, which continues to this day, has been one of intimidation, political repression, assault, torture, collusion and murder. More than 5000 troops remain in the six counties with the Special Reconaissance Regiment (SRR), effectively an undercover British army death squad, back on the streets of the six-counties once more.”

He added: “To 'celebrate' and 'glorify' a force with such an appalling human rights record and a propensity for mass murder is truly obscene. It is nothing short of trampling over the graves of their victims, especially coming less than two weeks after the publication of the Saville Report which was a damning indictment of the British army massacre of civil rights marchers on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday 1972.”

It is also a blatant attempt by the British Government to attempt to normalise the six counties and the continued occupation. However, just like previous attempts at 'normalisation' by successive British governments, republican opposition will ensure that this attempt is doomed to failure also.”

While some people may now be willing to support a policy of 'normalisation' and administer the occupation from Stormont, Irish Republicans will never accept or legitimise it, will never accept British troops in our country and will continue to resist that occupation for as long as it continues.”

Casey concluded: “Like the British army, éirígí will be marking Armed Forces Day. Unlike the British army, we will not be celebrating their murderous deeds. éirígí will be holding a demonstration to oppose these events taking place in our country outside City Hall in Belfast at 12 midday. Oppose British imperialism and the continued occupation of the six counties and Afghanistan. Bigí linn.”

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