BBC 2, BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09wfrk0
Hatred has no country. Ironically, I watched this programme on BBC Catch-up on Easter Sunday in memory of the resurrection.
I read in The Observer about Israeli snipers on Good Friday shooting Palestinian demonstrators, or terrorists, depending on how those shot are defined. Around 16 dead. Hospitals in Gaza report 284 injured people, the majority with bullet wounds. 70 wounded, children under 18, and 11 women. As well as those killed, more than 1400 were wounded by rubber bullets, the type developed for the conflict in Northern Ireland. We are experts at exporting murder.
Vanessa Engle’s documentary uses archive footage and unheard voices to do something rather brave. And let me say something that needs to be examined with the dark prospect of hard borders once again appearing in Northern Ireland with Brexit.
The facts are quite simple. The SAS killed three unarmed members of the IRA in Gibraltar – Sean Savage, Daniel McCann and Maired Farrell.
Thirty-two pounds of explosives were later found in a car parked on the Spanish side of the border.
Two Anderstone funerals, 72 hours apart in March 1988 in Northern Ireland.
Michael Stone launched an attack in the cemetery, where the so called Gibraltar Three were to be buried, using guns and grenades which killed three people, including IRA member Kevin Brady, and injured 60 others.
He complained that his gun jammed or he’d have killed more and immediately became a Nationalist hero. Loyalist, David Stitt, for example, remembers jumping around his living room cheering when Stone’s attack came on the news. He remembers, most folk around him were the same.
Included here are accounts by ex-army, and members of the security forces, George Higgins. He remembered members of the RUC also cheering Stone’s account and sympathising with him that his gun had jammed and he didn’t kill and injure more Catholics.
Higgins laughs off government accounts that his two army colleagues who were stripped naked, beaten and finally executed by the IRA had somehow got lost on Belfast’s M1 and somehow got caught up in an IRA funeral cortege. That would be the equivalent of a soldier leaving his weapon down as he went for a pee, or as Higgins put it, ‘Even the wee man on the moon would have known about the funeral’.
What British army corporals Derek Woods and David Howes were doing there that day is still open to debate. They died in a predicable way.
David Stitt was upfront enough to admit if the LVF or a crowd in the Falls had identified Republicans in their midst they would have done the same.
I’m sure Israeli snipers are similarly being lauded for their straight shooting and no-nonsense approach.
The miracle here is the Peace Process did take place in Northern Ireland. Our great shame is we are unravelling it thread by thread. It follows a familiar trajectory of denial. A downplaying of what went before. Calls for a reinterpretation of the facts. Then a reimaging of them based on LA-LA land, or lies. There’s no greater force than a radicalised state. Evil has a purity of intent and purpose.
Here is a programme that says it must be fought. But nobody is listening. From eugenics to our latest tribal conflict we revert to base, atavistic, humanity without humanity. Compassion regarded as a weakness to be exploited. It’s easier raising the dead than getting those that know best that they are wrong. Try trumping that.