Archive for February 12th, 2006
Donald Rumsfeld is on his way to Algeria, presumably to strengthen military ties and not to plead for the release of the newspaper editors jailed for publishing those silly cartoons. Still, you never know: freedom is untidy.
Yet one of his most depressing recent encounters is with a complacent Queen’s
student renting his grandmother’s old house. She piously denounces loyalist
paramilitaries carrying out punishment shootings, implies that the IRA and its
splinters no longer exist, and claims that she couldn’t live off the Stranmillis
Road because of the unionist insignia painted on kerbstones and hung out of
windows (invisible to Lundy, and most other people). “In her own pleasant,
new-generation way she seemed as bigoted as any old-timer; she thought
Protestants were vicious and prejudiced (as many of them are) but Catholics were
non-sectarian normal people.”
Isn’t it mad the way every time a very untypical and isolated incident of British Army brutality and depravity crops up, there’s a nosy parker amateur cameraman lurking in the background? Honestly, couldn’t these people spend some of their time recording the many hours of perfect law and order that the BA dispenses regularly to acclaim on all sides? They have no sense of fair play.
I, for one, love the British Army and its no-nonsense dedication to doing the job and winning hearts and minds. Like the time the British soldier in the toilets of a post-ceasefire Belfast pub told me that he, along with all his mates who were out on the town that night, hated every last stinking taig (he pronounced taygue) in Northern Ireland. That made me feel good. I could only nod my head in agreement.
Of course, you had to Blame The Terrorists, as the sign used to say when you approached the checkpoints. Like the time the British Army stopped me as I was doing my driving test. Well, I was just about to finish my driving test (I passed), and was indicating to turn right into the test centre (they were stopping cars just outside the test centre), and they stopped me and asked me to open the boot of the car (which had an L-Plate on the front and back, and a man in a tie sitting in the front seat with what looked very suspiciously like a clipboard). Just in case, you know, I was a terrorist.