Il comunicato rilasciato da Republican Network for Unity in occasione del nuovo anno
The REPUBLICAN NETWORK for UNITY extends New Year’s greetings to our activists and supporters across the thirty-two counties of Ireland and abroad, to all allied Republican organisations or independent Republicans, who work separately from RNU, but on shared principles to achieve our common political objectives, and to all Republicans who today remain faithful to the sovereign and indefeasible right to national freedom enshrined in the 1916 Easter Proclamation.
We particularly wish to remember all Irish Republican political prisoners, whether in Maghaberry, or Portlaoise or beyond, and especially their families, who are at all times in our hearts and thoughts but most especially as they endure the pain and hardship of separation from loved ones during the Christmas season and the advent of the New Year.
During the past year, RNU has made a number of important strides. We established an office presence in Belfast, which we plan to make a centre for political education, for our community outreach and for highlighting the injustices which are inherently part and parcel of irreformable British rule. We established Cogus, to formalise and structure our support for affiliated Republican political prisoners, and our efforts in concert with other organisations for all Republican political prisoners in their fight against criminalisation and brutalisation. We expanded from Republican heartlands in the north to hold our national Easter Commemoration in Dundalk. We joined in defending nationalists in Ardoyne and elsewhere who continue to be subjected to triumphalist Orange sectarian parades and then subjected to trumped up charges in crown courts. We were privileged to endow a chair in honor of Brendan Hughes, near the spot where his ashes rest, after an earlier memorial structure was destroyed by anti-Republicans who fear his legacy even in death. RNU joined with many other Republicans, nationalists, and human rights supporters, behind the victorious campaign which freed and spared the life of Brendan Lillis.
Less than five years ago, RNU emerged from a campaign, led by veteran Republicans among them Brendan Hughes and John Kelly, against ratifying the RUC-PSNI, and with it, British law and rule which this re-named crown constabulary imposed, and the violence and injustice it inflicted. The British have their own “change agenda”. The dark side of this British “change agenda” was to draw some Republicans into places within a British Stormont administration, then “change them” by requiring them in such positions to act as front men for British rule, camouflaging repression at cosmetic constabulary board and partnership charades or administering Tory ordered cuts which fall hardest on the poor and working class in these bleak times.
Today the “dark side” of Britain’s “change agenda” is plain to see. Nationalists are told to content themselves with apologies for crown murders, most notably for Bloody Sunday. By rights this litany of apologies should include hundreds more. No one in the British Army or, RUC who committed these murders directly, or in collusion with the loyalists they deployed has been charged. Meanwhile Republicans like Gerry McGeough are gleefully prosecuted and jailed on 30 year old charges, to the applause of DUP members.
Search at will powers, outlawed under one law by the European Court are simply wielded under another, and are deliberately and intentionally misused to intimidate and terrify the children of Republicans, or as was done recently to the wife of imprisoned Derry Republican Tony Taylor, to physically abuse their wives.
Diplock Courts are “abolished” then used routinely against Republicans, with planted DNA the new framework of choice in cases like that of Colin Duffy, and Brian Shivers.
Internment by license has been added to internment by remand and 28 mini-internment without charge, as tools in the arsenal of British repression. Marian Price is in solitary confinement and Martin Corey jailed on the whim of a British colonial secretary without rights to know much less refute the pretexts for doing so.
The heralded new Patten crown constabulary has been revealed as a double-jobbing scheme, where uncounted numbers collect pensions, alongside consultants pay, while new recruits are selected, commanded and trained in these injustices by veteran RUC.
The British policy of criminalisation imposed by brutal strip-searches, which Bobby Sands and Brendan Hughes fought more than 30 years ago, is today being tried once more against Republican political prisoners in Maghaberry. Again the British entered into an agreement which would have brought an honorable end to the protest and reneged.
In recent weeks, removing the British crown from the prisons where this criminalisation policy is inflicted, and from the uniforms of those who inflict it, was raised and buried by DUP threats to resign and collapse Stormont. Sinn Fein delegations into Maghaberry tell Republican prisoners that the party has repeatedly called for an end to the brutality and injustice which continue unabated. Are they unwilling or unable to halt the injustices?
Meanwhile the campaign for Brendan Lillis has shown us the weakness in the British strategy. When Republicans can unite on vital human rights issues, we can bring out nationalists and activists in sufficient strength to make Britain’s change agenda strategy fall apart. Republicans can force Britain’s front men to either come back from the dark side fronting the injustices which prop up British rule, or show the reality that the party has indeed become part of the dark side of Britain’s change agenda. Let 2012 be the year in which Republicans exploit this weakness to help end the strip-search brutality and win a victory for Republican political prisoners at Maghaberry!