The apology made by San Francisco Mayor London Breed for the outrageous award, commending Martin McGuinness for his ‘courageous service in the military’, is welcomed by Ulster Human Rights Watch. Victims of terrorism and those espousing democratic values throughout society were rightly horrified by such offensive glorification of terrorism, and we hope that this humiliating climb down will also reverse the propaganda value of the award for those who continue to justify terrorism and large scale abuses of human rights as legitimate ways to further political agendas.
While criticism has rightly been directed over the Atlantic, we may forget that the campaign to rewrite history in order to whitewash terrorism, and particularly republican terrorism, as lawful and legitimate, and to vilify the security forces, continues apace. Ms. Breed and her award may be seen as just this – legitimising brutal IRA terrorist activity by redefining it as ‘courageous service in the military’.
By the same yardstick the UK government and authorities have acted no better in playing into this agenda – and there is no apology or change of heart forthcoming here. We have a de facto definition of ‘victims’, in the Victims and Survivors (NI) Order 2006, that makes a moral equivalence between the innocent victims of terrorism and the violent perpetrators of terrorist acts. This also serves the terrorist’s agenda in the rewriting of history, whitewashing their crimes by placing them on the same moral level as those they killed.
The proposed Historical Investigations Unit, as a new body for dealing with the past, seeks to make a moral equivalence between police misconduct and acts of terrorism. Again this is a part of the terrorist’s agenda and the rewriting of history.
The message sent from the decision of the PPS yesterday to prosecute a soldier 47 years after Bloody Sunday, while terrorists are let out of prison on license, have letters of comfort and OTRs, again sends the same message that there was legitimacy to terrorist acts which deserve to be ignored, while security forces who were there to stand between terrorists and society, must be vilified as the criminals and chased to the grave.
San Francisco’s mayor was right to apologise, and maybe she even deserves a fool’s pardon. The UK statutory facilitation of the same agenda deserves no such forgiveness and should be stopped.