The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by the police was a public execution and a brutal act of inhumanity. It has rightly served to spark protests not only across the United States of America but around the world, including Ireland.
The violence of the American police reaction and the use of rubber bullets on unarmed protesters will resonate with Irish people as we too have experienced the savagery of police and state brutality in the face of injustice. The forces that are at work in America right now are the manifestation of centuries of racial injustices which, despite a civil war and legislative and constitutional change, have never been fundamentally addressed.
As we know too well in Ireland, to ignore injustice and to meet it with more injustice and violence leads only to ongoing conflict and oppression. In Ireland historically we have looked to America for aid in our fight for freedom, the affection and warmth we feel for the American people has not abated.
However, it is our duty to point out injustice and oppression when we see it and importantly to challenge it. Racism is not confined to one country and here in Ireland it too has raised its ugly head. As Irish Republicans we must confront it, and reject completely those who would attempt to associate Irish Republicanism in any way with anti-immigrant or racist diatribes against the most vulnerable.
We are currently in the midst of a period of great fear and uncertainty and facing a future of economic crisis. This not only opens up possibilities for the genuine revolutionary but also for the false prophet of racism and fascism. Germany in the 1920s and early ‘30s is an oft-quoted example of the kind of conditions that breed such hateful ideology. The pattern is the same the world over, however: find a scapegoat for joblessness, poverty, cuts in social spending etc.
Such a scapegoat will usually differ from the majority in skin colour, religion, language, culture, nationality or gender. These false prophets then go to work on increasing paranoia and bigotry among the majority against the minority based on the false premise that salvation of the majority lies in the destruction of those that differ from the rest.
The purpose is always the same, to climb to a position of political power and hold it by creating fear among the population towards each other, thereby ensuring their control by the state.
Sinn Féin Poblachtach rejects and challenges these false prophets and peddlers of hate. Irish Republicanism is no narrow insular dogma – it is an international philosophy of freedom and democracy, drawing on the best and noblest instincts of human nature rather than the lowest. Our cause is the cause of humanity.
Again, we are back to Tone: “Let the nations go abreast. Let the interchange of sentiments among mankind concerning the Rights of Man be as immediate as possible.” It is a philosophy which invites people into the brightness of enlightenment and progress rather than the shadows of fear and intolerance.
Sinn Féin Poblachtach
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