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The left's support for tyranny - Irish support for tyranny

  

Irish support for tyranny

Higgins' condolences for Castro follow in a long tradition of Irish support for tyranny.

Mark Humphrys

The Sunday Times (Irish edition), 19 Mar 2017.

This is a much longer version of the printed article, with extra material.



President Michael D. Higgins issues condolences on the death of Fidel Castro in 2016.
(Image not used in Sunday Times.)


  
Last year, President Michael D. Higgins shocked many when he expressed condolences to Cuba on the death of the dictator Fidel Castro, who crushed Cuban freedom for 50 years. Higgins said that: "Castro will be remembered as a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet."

Last month, the President visited Cuba in person, and few noticed that in opening remarks in Spanish in his speech he again expressed condolences: "Let me begin by expressing my deepest condolences to President Castro, his family, and the people of Cuba, on the death of Comandante Fidel Castro." His speech then praised the Cuban dictatorship's achievements and approvingly quoted Castro.

Higgins' condolences strongly bring to mind the episode in 1945 when both the Taoiseach Eamon de Valera and the President Douglas Hyde offered condolences to Germany on the death of Adolf Hitler. In some ways Higgins was worse. At least Dev just offered condolences and did not wax lyrical about Hitler supporting freedom for oppressed peoples.

It is in fact remarkable how many times Irish intellectuals and public figures have praised foreign tyrants of all sorts. Living in a reasonably free and liberal democracy, with unbroken elections since 1922, Irish thinkers nevertheless often feel the urge to praise foreign strongmen and thugs who despise democracy and individual freedom. Here are some more examples:



There are plenty more such horrors in the future, I am sure. Why exactly free and prosperous Westerners feel the need to praise foreign tyrants under whom they could never live is a mystery. Nor is it unique to Ireland. An extraordinary number of intellectuals and public figures in the UK, France and US have praised foreign fascists, dictators, communists and jihadists over the years. For some intellectuals, tyrants are appealing the further away you are from them.

In Ireland, it is not just a fringe. The very top of the Irish state is implicated in this kind of thinking. The idea that Ireland has an "ethical" foreign policy, where we clearly support democrats abroad, and oppose tyrants and authoritarians, is nonsense. The fact is that President Higgins is following in a long and shameful Irish tradition of support for foreign, faraway tyranny. If it is to ever end, this tradition must be confronted.


Dr. Mark Humphrys is a lecturer at Dublin City University.

  



Images (not used in Sunday Times)

The following images back up my points, but note they were not used in the Sunday Times.
  

   
Charlotte Despard defends the Soviet Union in 1930: "the stories .. that people are persecuted for their religious opinions .. are absolutely false."



The IRA in 1940 says Nazi Germany is working towards "the freedom of civilised nations ... and the reconstruction of a free and progressive Europe".



Michael D. Higgins attends a candlelit vigil in Galway, 2004, mourning the death of the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat.



Hezbollah terrorist flag at anti-Israel march, Dublin, 2008.
David Norris, Eamonn McCann and Michael D. Higgins spoke at this march.



Hamas terrorist flag at anti-Israel march, Dublin, 2010.
Also in this march were Labour LGBT and the National Womens Council of Ireland.
The march was led by Emer Costello, Lord Mayor of Dublin, and Chris Andrews TD.



The President Mary McAleese in 2010 lays a wreath at the tomb of Ataturk, the butcher of Turkey's Christians.
From President's visit to Turkey.


  

  


Tributes at the death of Martin McGuinness

Shortly after this article, on 21 Mar 2017, IRA leader Martin McGuinness died, and Irish public figures came out again, mourning a terrorist leader, as they did with Arafat.

  


I ask the Catholic Archbishop for some moral clarity on the death of a mass killer.
I will not get any.


  

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