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Another Bloody Chapter in an Endless Civil War

Ken Wharton
This is the latest of Mr. Wharton’s series of books about the troubles in Northern Ireland and the grief and pain it caused and still causes today. As usual it is very well researched with interviews from people on all sides of the conflicts and gives a broad picture of events, circumstances and the political activity going on alongside the murders, nutting squads and army patrols.

As usual, having lived through these times, I learned far more than I expected, because so much wasn’t reported, either due to the editorial bias of the reporters at the time or because of the possibility for the truth to derail a political solution. I was also shocked to learn that the Peace Loving John Lennon, hero to so many of my generation, marched with and funded the IRA. Obviously he hadn’t read about the torture and death meted out to informants, suspected informants, misidentified informants and others, in the name of keeping the IRA’s violent mission going!

This is an excellent book, easy to read and packed with information. Facts are reported clearly, and the complications that were never reported at the time, such as Catholics being murdered by other Catholics, (for applying to join the RUC or owning a business that sold goods to the British, or being informants or suspected informants) become clearer.

The author is at pains to describe the circumstances of every death, and provides eyewitness reports and opinion, from people who were shooters/killers to those who were shot, who lost parents, brothers, sisters, and who were maimed. It paints a story of a desperate situation, wickedly manipulated by people who now are re-writing history to show organisations similar to the French Resistance in the Second World War, fighting to break free of a colonial oppressor, rather than a minority community using death, terror and bullying to impose their will over that of a democratically elected government.

The author holds a dim view of NORAID, the fundraising arm of the IRA in the USA, which raised so many millions and arranged arms shipments for the IRA, making sure to celebrate the deaths of soldiers and policemen killed whilst carrying out their duty to protect the civilian population, who, like most of us, just want to live a quiet life.

Overall this book is an excellent and informative read, but one should be prepared to be upset by the fate of some of the people whose lives were ended. What I find upsetting is that those who ordered some of those murders are now hailed as ‘politicians’ whilst solders who have already endured military enquiries and court cases into every death they caused, are now facing it all being raked over again as those ‘politicians’ find themselves in a position to make that happen, whilst covering over the atrocities, child killings and other vile actions which they took themselves.

Four mushroom heads.

Recommended to everyone who wants to know more about a nasty, dirty little war that took too many soldiers’ lives over nearly thirty years.

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