CXV - Michael Collins, by Neil Jordan and The IRA, by Tim Pat Coogan - comments by André Bandeira
When one sees the movie «Michael Collins», from 1996, and when one reads this 800 pages long History of the Irish Republican Army, of which edition has been revised on 1986, one tries to sum up a turbulent sequence of events: first, there is the Easter rising, in Dublin, on 1916, and the declaration of independence of the Irish Republic; then there is the establishment of the Dail Eireánn ( a parliament freely elected by the Irish, scorning the British rule), on 1919, and the proclamation of the Republic of Ireland, followed by the anglo-irish war; then there is the negotiation of a Treaty, by Michael Collins, with the British, which leads to the Irish Free State, in 1922; then there is the Irish civil war, between 1922 and 1923; then there is the proclamation of the Republic of Eire, led by de Valera, on 1937, and the exit from the British Commonwealth, as well as the neutrality during the Second World War; and finally there is the proclamation of the Republic of Ireland, on 1948, which leads Ireland to the United Nations, on 1955, and keeps it out of NATO, on the same year. I see here, nothing less than four proclamations of the Republic. In the meantime, there is an Irish Republican Army which fights against the British, then there is an IRA which fights against Irish of the Free State, then there is a contemporary IRA which fights against the protestant majority of Northern provinces which stood only one month under ther Free State, and which accepted the Good Friday agrement, for catholic-protestant power share, only on 1998. The IRA is historically an army of volunteers who fought for the independence and unity of Ireland. But it acts much more as an huge guerrilla network, than as a regular army. Nevertheless, and according with the book, it is not an irregular army. It also seems to be hand in glove with vast segments of the southern irish population, as well as with the irish diaspora, and very much in accordance to rites of initiation as well as some code of honour in the irish catholic tradition, which has very much of mediterranean, and terror. It is nevertheless disturbing, how easily the last consequences of violence, are drawn from the turbulent institution of the contemporary Ireland. According to the communists of the Comintern, Irish were «too mexican» so that Stalin decided to arm and equip them. According to Herman Goercz, the nazi spy living in Dublin during WWII, they were individually very brave but they were nothing, militarly speaking, as a body. Sean Russell, who commanded a bomb campaign in England, on the eve of WWII, died from stomach ulcer in a Nazi german submarine, in the arms of Francis Ryan, a international brigade volunteer, who had been imprisoned by Franco and, committed to the Nazis, after narrowingly escaping the death squad. Both of them were IRA officers, and they were trying to reach Ireland, supported by the nazis and on their free will, to sabotage the British. After this readings, one has the impression, that, when a Nation wants to get rid of an Empire, it is better to let it happen, the way it is, and not postpone the collapsing of an ideal umbrella, which has no longer any weather to protect us against. The irish nobility had already been uprooted from Ireland, during the «flight of the earls», three centuries before. The Irish had no king and their choice wouldn't certainly be between a scotish catholic Tudor and a german Orange. Any good monarchy is based on a solid Republic, which is unthinkable without a nation, although it may found it. A national monarchy adds a lot to any Republic as both this book and the movie «Michael Collins» enlighten us. Collins was heroical and ruthless. Notwithstanding, he was intelectually prudent and altruistic. He knew he should play the moderation card, when everybody around him was drunk with blood. But, as a leader, he had not the notion of a degree of sovereignty above him, to suspend the political and belligerent speculation he was deeply drown in, way above his neck. It was Eamonn De Valera who managed to do that, despite his squalid personality. Shall I say that a conservative is better than a revolutionary when the commonwealth has been beheaded, and the radar of our life, lies on a mat, seeing and lessoning in the void? No. What I say is that the squalor of conservantism, which is so often tempted by greed and cruelty, is just a sign that the commonwealth has been beheaded. Furthermore, looking for recovering a head with eyes, ears, and a all-weather of expressions we call sensibility, should be the first priority of any revolution. Else, those who have the fortune, of prolonguing the existence of a headless body, thanks to a strict conservantism, the only thing they are condemned to do for the rest of their lives, it is to refrain from cruelty and comfort in desolation. That is not enough for any commonwealth and, at a certain point, it is even oppressive, unbearably oppressive.