President Eisenhower, in a press conference in 1954, talked about the "falling domino" principle as it applied to Indochina. In the context of that conference, the reporters were concerned about the on-going hydrogen bomb program. Why couldn't we just stop now? Eisenhower spoke of tyranny, of national interest, and of the interconnection between nations.
So here is it is, fifty-six years later, and the domino theory seems, finally, a reality. Only this time the geography has widened to include more than just one region. Dominos are falling all over the place.
The domino called Northern Ireland was long-overdue for a tumble, but it looks as though it may have happened at long last. What the Belfast Telegraph calls a mafia economy -- "Sicily without the sunshine" -- has come onto the world's radar again, and for the same reasons: outlaws reigning in a supposedly civilized land.
Sinn Fein and the IRA have a long history of fascism dating back to World War II and their sympathy with the Nazis. The Republic of Ireland (the South), newly born in the Easter Rising of the early 'teens and twenties of the last century, remained "neutral" in the War, though many of her young men went off to fight in the British services. But Dublin itself was a haven for Nazis; sympathizers among the Irish population were numerous. To give the devil his due, their reactions -- coming as they did after centuries of domination by England -- had more to do with anti-British feeling than it did with the reality of Hitler.
Sinn Fein -- meaning "we ourselves"* or "ourselves alone" -- briefly had a proud history in the birth of the Irish nation. My aunt, born in 1916, was named Ellen Sinn Fein Sullivan -- her American father having come to Ireland to found the film industry was quickly caught up in the fever of independence and found himself in gaol briefly for his outspoken American talk. But "Alone" has its dark side. A divided house cannot stand, and Ireland is all-too-famous for division and recrimination. They have hung separately for generations.
Now Sinn Fein and the IRA are infamous for their mafia-like control of businesses in Ireland. No one dare stand up to them. And as sure as shamrocks appear in the florists' shops, every year on this date Gerry Adams waltzes over to America and collects the sentimental money from clueless Irish descendants raised on vague talk about the Troubles and the bloody English... "for the stranger came and tried to teach us their way/they scorned us just for being who we are." All over the Northeast of America they'll be bellying up to the bar and singing "Galway Bay" till they're hoarse.
Meanwhile, back in Belfast, the murdering IRA will be soldiering on, robbing banks, intimidating the populace, murdering the dissidents.
There's no way to tell in advance what will be the tipping point in any situation. When the IRA murdered McCartney, it was the whim of the tyrant. McCartney's chum "dissed" a mobster in a bar and before it was over, McCartney lay eviscerated, bleeding to death on the sidewalk while the IRA closed down, cleaned up, threatened everyone, and shut the phones so help couldn't be called until after McCartney was dead.
What they failed to take into consideration -- nor would it have been of any concern to them anyway -- was the five Mc Cartney sisters. They refused to "shut it up." Like Mukhtar Mai in Pakistan, they named the tyrant and they called for justice. The IRA offered the only justice they knew: they'd kill the murderers if the family would stop.
Instead, the five McCartneys are off to America, off to the White House to see the President. Their unheard-of courage has caught the conscience of the crowd and now no one will talk to Gerry Adams...or rather, no one important. He's still giving speeches to the union members in New York and Boston who will gather to listen. And U.S. special envoy to the peace process, Mitchell Reiss, will listen to him. But Ted Kennedy, his old friend these many decades, won't be among them.
|The sisters have been invited to the White House and the Capitol Hill speaker's luncheon. They will also meet with Sen. Kennedy, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Sen. Christopher Dodd.|
Meanwhile, Bush soldiers on, bringing into his circle those who would spread the mantle of liberty, those who have known the cost of tyranny. The McCartneys made the list and Gerry Adams will be gnashing his teeth in the outer darkness.
Are the men that God made mad
For all their wars are merry
And all their songs are sad
-- G.K. Chesterton
*Irish Gaelic sinn féin : sinn, we (from Middle Irish, from Old Irish) + féin, self (from Middle Irish, from Old Irish).