Martin McGuinness is dead. Good riddance. Lord Tebbit, as he so often does, said it best. The world is a “safer and cleaner” place without him. It hardly seems necessary to say, but McGuinness’ transformation into a peacemaker extraordinaire came only after his bloody history of murder and terror had him in its jaws. After all, the “Good Friday Agreement” was reached only after the IRA were essentially a spent force. Years of dedicated work by the police, British Intelligence and Mi5 brought the IRA and its political wing, Sinn Féin, to its knees. Had the Yanks with their emerald-tinted lenses not insisted on giving their beloved “Irish” side a deal more favourable than it was due, the world could have been cleansed of one of the 20th century’s more vile organisations. The IRA, after all, served as in inspiration for Islamic terrorism and the tactics they developed have been replicated in countless attacks in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America.
McGuiness defended his blood-soaked past with the excuse that he was radicalised in a brutal, violent world. What he didn’t seem to consider worthy of mention is that he played a profound role in escalating this violence to its highest height. As Mariano Azuela wrote:
“La revolución es el huracán, y el hombre que se entrega a ella no es ya el hombre, es la miserable hoja seca arrebatada por el vendaval” The revolution is the hurricane and the man who gives himself to it is no longer the man, but a miserable, dry leaf caught by the gale.
During the Troubles many were caught up in bloodshed. For those caught in sink estates, there was often little choice but to go along with it. If the IRA “recruited” someone, the consequences for eschewing violence could be great. Let us not forget, however, that McGuiness was very much involved with this. It is clear that he remained actively involved with murder and terrorism into the peak-violence of the 1980s. The Flames of Hell are truly burning brighter today.