Kidnap, rape, torture and murder is wrong, no matter who does it.
I am an Irish Republican. As a young boy I read of Ireland’s eight hundred year struggle for independence.
I was incredibly moved by the heroism and stoicism of the Irish men and women who gave up their lives in the fight for liberation.
However, I never supported the latter day IRA. How could I?
How could I support a gang of thugs who would blow up pubs, killing old men and women as they supped their mild and sherry over a game of dominoes?
What had they ever done to me or mine?
Nothing. They were nobody’s enemies.
Sure, I could understand why Nationalists in the six counties took to the streets to take on the British Army and the bent RUC. Catholics were treated like dogs.
You could make an argument that paratroopers and dirty cops were legitimate targets.
Note that I said you could make an argument. I’m not saying I condone it. I find violence repugnant, but I understand that when an oppressed people feel that they have no representation and no justice, retaliation becomes inevitable.
But there is no excuse for kidnapping, shooting and torturing unarmed civilians. None. This is why I reviled the IRA. Unionist’s who drove taxis or worked three shifts in a local factory were not legitimate targets. Nor were Brits on the mainland.
Back in the day, when I would say as much, I would be told that the UVF were worse. Whataboutery isn’t a new thing. Incidentally, the UVF were not worse. They were as bad as each other.
At times, the IRA seemed more interested in running drugs than uniting Ireland. Look it up.
I have supported the cause of the Palestinian people my entire adult life. I have never missed an opportunity to call out the unspeakable crimes of the Israeli government.
I have said that Israel should be sanctioned back to the Stone Age until it ends the siege of Gaza.
I have paid a price for it, but it never stopped me. It is my belief that righteousness resides in Gaza and with the most oppressed people on Earth.
But don’t tell me that massacring kids at a concert is justifiable. Don’t do that.
Don’t tell me that murdering a woman and parading her dead body around on the back of a truck is justifiable. Please, don’t do that.
Don’t attempt to justify it with whataboutery. Yes, I know that Palestinians are routinely rounded-up, interred and beaten.
I know that the IDF murders Palestinians in cold blood at checkpoints.
And I know that every so often Israeli fighter planes whizz round Gaza, drop a few bombs and kill a few hundred men, women and children.
The regime is evil incarnate. I’ve never been shy in saying it.
What has gone on in recent days is no less evil. Call it out where you see it.
Tragically, terrorism begets terrorism.
Israeli forces are massing. It’s going to be carnage.
There are no winners.