An attempt to apply The Economist's cliche about Chechnya to the political life in Britain
Freedom of speech is one of Russia's major accomplishments in recent 15 years. Now Russian journalists do not have to look back at the Kremlin to have an opportunity to set forth their own views on both home and international politics. Having paid attention to Western media resources, we suddenly found out that cold war phantoms were still controlling the situation there – they do not know any other way of writing than using cliches that were made up during the opposition between the USSR and the West. Using the legally guaranteed freedom of speech, PRAVDA.Ru launches a new series of materials, which could be referred to as 'scoffing.'
We chose the respectable British magazine, The Economist, as the first object of scoffing. This week the magazine has published an article titled “Chechnya, ten years on” (the article was translated into Russian by InoSMI). In this case PRAVDA.Ru is using the cliche - the base of the story about the situation in Chechnya – towards the situation in Northern Ireland. Therefore, we have a question to our colleagues from The Economist: “Are you going to continue the “cold war?” With the parody to our colleagues' text we are ready to show that we have something in stock too.
Ulster, 800 years later…
”The corridor of hatred,” cordoned by Royal Ulster constables and army soldiers is about 300 yards long. Loyalists say that the police were “standing on the guard of honor in front of IRA terrorists” only because of the fact that several girls' parents were Republicans. “Who let the Taigs loose?” (a demeaning word to designate the native Irish population). “Go home you Fenian bastards!” – those were mildest statements that a crowd of loyalists was chanting. The parents, who were running through the line, were covering their daughters' ears with hands. Adult men and women made a six-year-old girl cry as they were calling her an “idiot” and a “lop-eared bastard.”
Tens and hundreds of thousands of people were killed during 800 years of Ireland's struggle for independence from London. The British authorities were saying that they were controlling the situation, although such statements were not true to fact. Royal constables and army units are basically watching over Catholics' actions, arresting them on every good occasion. Fighters for the annexation of eight northern counties of Ulster to the Irish republic are saving strength to take actions in response against the authorities.
The horror of Ulster has been tormenting Britain for hundreds of years. The occupation led to attempts against prime ministers, including Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. Governmental troops could even attack hospitals and children's summer camps. If you visit such areas as Poleglass in Belfast, local residents will tell you stories about the police covering and protecting car thieves and drug dealers for using them as informants. In the 1970s, the police ran out of energy to patrol many Catholic areas – they had to appear there under the protection of the British army.
Simultaneous explosions in Dublin and Monaghan (the Irish republic) became the bloodiest terrorist act during the exacerbation of the conflict. The bombings were organized by protestant extremists in May of 1974: 30 people were killed and over 150 were injured. The armed British contingent and “law-enforcement forces” (the Royal Ulster Police) are guilty of killing almost one-fourth of the conflict's victims. Investigators, however, say that the protestant contingent of the Royal Ulster Police and “loyalist” sympathies of the troops give a reason to talk about uniting the protestant and law-enforcement victims into one single category.
It became known after the declassification of certain governmental materials that the Irish Republican Army repeatedly attempted to find a common language with the British government. Britain, however, was arrogantly setting unacceptable terms for negotiations, making them virtually impossible. The Irish prime minister is actually London's nominee, who definitely can not accept a Catholic at the head of Northern Ireland.
”David Trimble, a deputy from Portdown represents only the Orange Order. He has never been to Garvaghy Road; he has never talked to us about our problems. He called us, Catholics, “dogs of Biblical Adam.” This is an opinion about the prime minister of Ireland, who continues being a puppet of London despite his Nobel Prize laureate status.
Such an approach of London as far as territorial disputes are concerned, considerably differs from what Moscow is demonstrating in the regulation of the Chechen issue. For example, the Kremlin repeatedly announced amnesty to regulate a conflict in Northern Caucasus, achieved agreements on cooperation with leaders of Chechnya's largest communities, which eventually made it possible to conduct a direct presidential election in the republic. The events that have been happening in Ulster for recent several decades can not be compared to anything in the Russian history.
No wonder that even urban districts declare their independence of London, not to mention towns and counties. The Bogside area in Ulster, Derry, single-handedly proclaimed itself an independent region. The unemployment level in Bogside is 75 percent, although there is no criminality there.
Catholics of Northern Ireland do not have a possibility to fully enjoy legal procedures of the country, which joined the USA to establish democracy in Iraq. Not every Irish can afford addressing the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg. However, in May of 2001 the European Court for Human Rights upheld a class-action lawsuit filed by residents of Northern Ireland against Great Britain. The Irish claimed that the British government had violated human rights during the period of 1970-1980s when its orders to Ulster-occupied troops resulted in killings and property damage. In compliance with the decision of the court, the British government had to pay up to ten thousand pounds sterling to the family of each killed person.
The court's decision did not change London's stance towards Ulster. Orange parades continue, and the police patrol Catholic areas. In spite of Britain's talks about terrorists from the Irish Republican Army, the number of guerrillas is growing because of impunity, poverty and brutality in Ulster.
”One should not forget that we at Northern Ireland are living in the country occupied by a foreign state – Great Britain - by British troops that are also NATO troops. On account of this we have a personal experience to prove that NATO troops are turning a blind eye on militarist tricks of one of the members of this community, that NATO uses our situation to test new types of weapons, new patrolling techniques, new population control methods. It is very surprising that tons of bombs dropped on Serbian civilians are morally and politically acceptable for the British government, whereas IRA's silent guns are threatening the world, as we are being told,” Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein party, Northern Ireland, said.
The Catholics should be used to all that after 800 years of occupation. The Irish will apparently have to spend a few more decades walking through the “corridors of hatred” formed by the police, protestants and governmental troops.
P.S. PRAVDA.Ru could effortlessly provide daily accounts concerning the situation in Northern Ireland based on the existing template. And I can assure our colleagues from The Economist that our actions would yield certain positive results in a not-too-distant future. While impacting the media, they could lead to yet another aggravation of the situation around Ulster. Is this something the owners of the magazine could use to their advantage? Could this be used to the ultimate benefit of the royalty’s subjects, such as the journalists of The Economist magazine themselves?
All I am saying is that your month-to-month publications on Chechnya contain the exact same factual information. By doing so, you in turn do the exact same thing towards Russians and Chechens. And one more thing that surprised me: this article from The Economist does not even attempt to provide any reasonable analysis. Just out of curiosity guys, did you even write the text yourselves or was it brought to you by those financiers of Islamic militants in Chechnya?
The People's Militia of the DPR found a group of Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal steel plant who had hidden or got left behind during the surrender