The BBC’s former great, Brian Rowan, has developed into a sorry peddler of two or three threadbare tenets these days, repeating them ad nauseam “like a stuck record” (if anyone is old enough to remember vinyl records):
- “You can’t have a peace process that releases prisoners and a past process that sends people to jail.”
- “Paramilitaries must not suffer “a parade of shame” over legacy murders.”
- “A conflict cannot be half-over.”
Let’s deal with point 1)
Why can’t you have a peace process that releases prisoners and a past process that sends people to jail?
The released prisoners have achieved a number of milestones:
- They have been publicly identified with one or more of their crimes against their fellow citizens – maybe not with all of them.
- They have had to face justice in a partially public forum.
- Their victims or their victims’ relatives have lived to see some degree of justice done.
- The secrecy and lies of their paramilitary groupings have been breached.
- They have had the opportunity to reflect on their breaches of the Human Rights and Civil Rights of their victims as they sought defence from Prisoners’ Rights.
- They have learned the salutary lesson that crimes may not always go unpunished.
- They have enjoyed time to reflect on their actual contribution to society, before and after their trials and also in prison.
- Their arrest and imprisonment have probably saved their own lives, and also probably the lives of others.
- While their paramilitary cults have tried to erase any notions of guilt or shame, their arrest, trial and imprisonment have mostly likely burst through the cult brainwashing.
- They have had the opportunity to reflect on their lives – unlike their dead victims – and have had the opportunity to improve their own lives.
- They have been released back into society either “on licence” or in free to roam – a sense of freedom now better appreciated and something not given to their murdered victims.
- They get a second chance at citizenship outside of prison.
- The concept of “innocent victims” has probably entered their skulls for the first time since they were “sworn in” to their paramilitary grouping.
Brian Rowan has never been in a paramilitary organisation.
Brian Rowan has never been to prison.
Brian Rowan has never had one or more victims he has been brainwashed to ignore at all costs.
Brian Rowan doesn’t know enough about his subject matter to opine knowledgeably about it.
I have been arrested and imprisoned.
My arrest very probably saved my life and the lives of others.
Being imprisoned was one of the best things ever to happen to me (and to many other paramilitaries known to me).
Being brought to trial broke through the IRA’s Refusal to Recognise any guilt, blame, rights of victims, shame and all the other paramilitary denials.
Being brought before my victims was very good for the reform of my character to whatever degree you believe that may or may not have happened.
My victims certainly got a sense of justice from my trial and imprisonment, and possibly later from my writing letters of apology to them.
Being tried in public gave me the best of shame as a means of motivating me to turn toward the good, to respect victims’ rights in all circumstances and to see violence as evil and totally unnecessary.
Being tried and found guilty and publicly shamed gave me the energy to want to break free of the IRA and grow to become an individual making my own decisions – the chief achievement of my 14 years of imprisonment.
The 14 years of imprisonment added to my own character and growth and development and to those of many of my friends, both formerly republican and loyalist.
Imprisonment can be for the best – imprisonment can bring out the best in some people who need to be imprisoned for a time.
Why shouldn’t people who committed murder or mass murder be tried and, if justified, be found guilty of heinous crimes and be sentenced to an admittedly very short period of imprisonment under the Belfast Agreement?
Two years or very probably less?
Why shouldn’t victims and their relatives get that minute crumb falling from the feast tables of the paramilitaries, now pockets filled with Government Sterling that bought them into a tactical peace, a peace without any ethics or moral reform?
Many many men have said to me that imprisonment was the genesis of their breaking free from paramilitary dominance in their lives.
What’s so terrible about imprisonment for serious and heinous crimes?
Thousands of citizens are sent to prison every year and now Brian Rowan says it’s unacceptable to send murderous and unrepentant paramilitaries to prison for the short term of 2 years as a minor sop to their dumped victims?
“No Parade of Shame for Paramilitaries”
Where have you been, Brian?
It’s been an IRA Parade of Glorification…
It’s been an IRA Pride Parade…
It’s been a Parade of No Shame, No Guilt, No Remorse, No Admissions, No Justice, No Equality, No Integrity, No Truth…
It’s been a parade of “Screw You Victims!”
“A Conflict cannot be half over”
Any conflict can have a beginning, a middle and a series of confused endings – remember the IRA Ceasefire ended by the IRA Bombing restored by the IRA Ceasefire ended by IRA Murders and Stabbings to Death, Beatings to Death – Arrival of a Consignment of Glocks and other materials?
Remember the Army of Lawyers promoting the IRA’s Version of Truth and Justice to “break the bastards”?
The IRA Conflict is only Half Over, Brian!
Wakey wakey laddie!
Where are the new Glocks? Smell the cordite?
Where’s the corpse of Captain Robert Nairac? No shame – no body – no burial?
May God help us all, Brian, if you have had the ear of those in power and decision making who have listened to your nonsense about NO SHAME FOR PARAMILITARIES…
[Some earlier thoughts on Brian’s ramblings here.]