THE ART OF TERROR
PERFORMANCE ART, BELFAST STYLE
PROTESTANT PARAMILITARY CLAIMS ATTACK WAS AESTHETIC IN NATURE, PURELY SYMBOLIC
Defending Barrister Trades Wig & Robe For Beret & Smock, Cites Brando & Yoko
Who says terrorists don't have a sense of humor? OK, everybody says that. Still, this is funny. You know, except for the killing people part.
Here's the thing. Going by mainstream British and American media, you'd think that the erstwhile war in Northern Ireland was entirely one-sided. Just a bunch of those awful virgin-worshiping Catholics blowing up innocent Protestants over some obscure doctrinal differences. Madmen, really, religious fanatics. Oh, and Catholics. Did we mention that they were Catholics? Yup, Catholics.
This fits in neatly with the long history of anti-Catholic sentiment and policy in the UK and the US. While most people in the British Isles and North America couldn't care less about religion or politics or any admixture or conflation thereof, there has always been a certain select group who cared very much, and killed over it. In films and stories, you only ever hear about the IRA. But those in the line of fire know full well that there were as many guns if not more on the Protestant side, including the British Army, the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and all the various Loyalist irregulars in the long war over land, money and power in Northern Ireland and beyond. That's what it was about, by the way. Land, money and power. Nothing to do with theology.
See, this fellow Henry the Eighth couldn't seem to secure an heir for the English throne, back in the 1500's. He killed a couple of wives, but the new ones didn't work either. So he started his own Church in order to grant himself a divorce whenever necessary, divorce being a sin to Christians. And then he required all of his subjects to abandon their faith and adopt his, or suffer the consequences.
The consequences included the dictator Oliver Cromwell, the English Revolution and the Plantation of Ulster. The whole thing left a bad taste in the mouths of many Britons, including those who decided to chuck it all and move to the New World, at just that moment. It gave them a reason to value the separation of Church and State, and to forbid the Establishment of Religion by the State, which is what Henry VIII had inflicted upon everyone in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland that he could reach with a sword.
In America, the adherents of Henry's policies banded together to form racist, sectarian, anti-immigrant organizations like the Klu Klux Klan. In Ulster, they created the UDF. Same ideals, different targets. They were a part of the majority in both countries, and held positions of power in the government, the police and the military in the US and the UK. Most people lived in mortal terror of them. You might say that they were the very first modern terrorists. But counter-terrorists arose. Like the IRA.
For some reason, you only hear about the IRA. So, maybe it's a good thing that this ridiculous, psychotic Loyalist clown is calling so much attention to himself. Maybe Tom Clancy will write a cheesy novel about him. Harrison Ford could play him in the film. No need for an Ulster accent: That's only for the bad guys. You know, the Catholics?
"Accused claims N. Ireland parliament attack was art: reports"
' A convicted Protestant paramilitary denied Monday he tried to murder the leaders of Northern Ireland's Catholic Sinn Fein, saying his attempt to storm parliament buildings was an "artistic protest". The 53-year-old told Belfast Crown Court he had not intended to harm anyone when security guards stopped him trying to enter the British province's seat of power at Stormont in November 2006, media reports said. Stone said he was engaged in "performance protests". He was allegedly found with an imitation firearm, nails, pipe bombs, a number of knives and an axe, but said these were merely props symbolising Northern Ireland. '
"Stormont incident was 'performance art', UDA man Stone tells court"
' In court today, he said when he forced his way into Stormont in October 2006, it was an act of performance art and self parody to try and break the political log jam. '
THE DAILY RECORD
"Stormont attack bid was 'art', claims killer"
' In 1988, Stone was jailed for life for the murder of three people in a gun and grenade attack at Belfast's Milltown Cemetery during the funeral of three IRA members. '
"Stormont bomb was art, says Stone"
' "I'm destroying the iconography of Michael Stone, loyalist hero," he said. "It's a comic parody of my former self. I would rather be remembered as an eccentric artist that got it wrong in performance art than for my past, when I did some terrible things." '
"Michael Stone 'did not intend to murder anyone'"
' Stone, of no fixed address, denies attempting to murder Sinn Fein MLA's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness as well as 12 other charges of possessing nail and pipe bombs with intent to endanger life, possessing three knives, an axe and a garotte, having an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence. Asked what his intentions had been that day, Stone claimed his plan was to daub political graffiti on the walls of the building, to leave the nail bombs, which he called “props”, at the base of each column and to use the “flash bang” device to “clear the building”. He said he viewed the stance by the two parties as “rank hypocrisy” and wanted to “more or less put a proverbial rocket up their backsides”. '.
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