The Queen’s come in for some shit/been unnecessarily celebrated (depending on your opinion on the monarchy) this year but you’d be hard-faced to argue that shaking hands with Martin McGuinness was quite a big thing for her to do. I don’t mean the physical act of shaking someone’s hand, she is well versed in that. But MM was in the IR once upon a time and the IR did kill her cousin. Now, killing someone’s cousin could cause a grudge between anyone but, rightly or wrongly, The Queen had a different worldview. People don’t kill people related to The Queen. Even though all her (male) relatives are like top ranking managers in the army: of course top rankers in the army don’t get killed, they merely take brandy after lunch while dressed in a bright red jacket full of medals. I’m just saying that if she held a grudge against people in the IR it might be one of the more understandable grudges.
It’s not to say I don’t have some respect for McGuinness’ part in the most talked about handshake since any number of handshakes involving alleged adulterer and alleged racist John Terry. For McGuinness it represented an acknowledgement of the figurehead of the very thing he his known for opposing. I like that he did it on his own terms. I am sure his younger self might have wondered why his older self didn’t do something more aggressive than not bowing his head when he shook her hand. Quite why his younger self had this capacity to time travel and yet used it to watch his older self shake The Queen’s hand is another matter: why didn’t he travel back in time and do something to prevent it all is only a question the young McGuinness can answer.
[I hate this paragraph:
McGuinness had greeted the Queen in Irish: “Maidin mhaith. Cead mile failte.” (“Good morning. A hundred thousand welcomes.”) And bade her“Slan agus beannacht” – “Goodbye and farewell” – on departure.
It’s how it says ‘in Irish’ and then quotes the Irish and then translates it in the brackets. Just leave the ‘in Irish’ out, I think we’d have made the necessary sense of it. Or leave it in and get rid of the Irish text, the people who can speak Irish (is Irish a language? I thought it was Gaelic) can just translate it in their own head.]
I don’t know too much about the Irish issue. Perhaps not enough to even write the previous two paragraphs. It would be safe to say that I know what the IRA want(ed) and that they were a significant presence in the 1980s/early 90s I grew up in. It would also be safe to say that I am not pro-terrorist, but I know where they are coming from. I don’t like people killing other people is my main problem with major terrorist acts throughout history but I understand that sometimes the actions of the marginalised might have to do something horrible in order that their voice be heard. It’s the whole one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist thing.
I have a photo of Che Guevera (did you know he was called Ernesto? Or that the nickname Che comes from some tea-type drink he was a big fan of for a while? I think so anyway, it has been a while since I read The Motorcycle Diaries) on my desk (not that one – this one) so it would be odd to say that I think all terrorism is abhorrent. Because Che Guevera was a cool bastard whose Guerilla warfare was part of overthrowing a capitalist regime, installing Castro’s Communist Party to power it doesn’t mean the people he/his actions took the lives of weren’t just men doing the job of a soldier. That pretentious – and long – sentence was just meant to say that I probably dislike the IRA (somewhat) because they were painted as monsters in the media I grew up absorbing. And they did a bomb in my city. Given the time and distance that separate me from the Cuban revolution I might think the IRA seemed alright – and perhaps have a picture of someone from the IRA in a balaclava smoking a cigar (or potato) on my desk.
I’m sorry about this entry, slow news day me-wise. If you would prefer someone saying something funny about the IRA, why not watch this video of Stewart Lee talking about them?