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The IRA and the Nazis

In July 1940, after the fall of France and with a German invasion of Britain seeming imminent, the IRA leadership explained their attitude to the war in a public statement. In it they made it clear that if German forces arrived in Ireland they would come “as friends and liberators […]

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A voice raised against war

■ Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (1928) The First World War was described as “the war that will end war,” so great was the horror of this new, diabolical stage of industrial annihilation. We know today that, without seriously addressing the causes of war, or the […]

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Writing at a time of plague

The Black Death was the most devastating pandemic ever recorded, resulting in the death of between 75 and 125 million people. It reached its peak in Europe between 1347 and 1351, having come on Italian merchant ships from Asia via the Silk Road. In fact the idea of quarantine originates […]

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The Wasp Network

The film Wasp Network has recently arrived on Netflix. It tells the story of the heroes known as the Cuban Five who successfully infiltrated anti-communist terrorist groups in Miami. The Wasp Network (La Red Avispa) was a creation of Cuban intelligence to thwart the efforts of such groups as Alpha […]

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An Irishwoman’s novel of revolutionaries

■ Ethel Voynich, The Gadfly(1897) Liam Mellows read this novel while awaiting his execution, along with the other condemned men imprisoned by the Irish Free State during the Civil War (1922–23) for opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which gave Ireland dominion status within the British Empire, rather than establishing an independent […]

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Power: Aude Lorde

The recent demonstrations that began in Minnesota following the murder of George Floyd by a white cop are not only a continuation of the past seven years of the Black Lives Matter movement but of decades of struggle by black people against a racist police force, which functions to uphold […]

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Spake English and be dacent!

■Tomás Mac Síomóin, The Gael Becomes Irish: An Unfinished Odyssey (Nuascéalta, 2020) It is difficult to imagine a deeper enslavement of a subject people than to deprive them of their language. Such a condition has a deep psychological effect, which causes the abnormal to seem normal. There is a pretence […]

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The management of savagery

Max Blumenthal, The Management of Savagery: How America’s National Security State Fueled the Rise of al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump(London and New York: Verso, 2019).

THIS IS A valuable book, as it charts how the United States, since the late 1970s up until today, has deliberately funded and supported Islamist jihadists to obtain foreign-policy goals.

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The wayfarer

THANKS TO the current pandemic, Ireland was unable to publicly remember the Easter Rising of 1916, its aspirations for an independent socialist republic, its heroic leaders. Many of these leaders were poets and writers. Patrick Pearse’s poem “The Wayfarer” was written on the eve of his execution, in Kilmainham Gaol.

The beauty of the world hath made me sad, This beauty that will pass; Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,

Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk, Or little rabbits in a field at evening, Lit by a slanting sun,

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A time that called for giants

A time that called for giants – Jenny FarrellDownload The great Italian painter and architect Raphael died 500 years ago, in April 1520. He lived at the time of the High Renaissance, one of the most progressive periods in history; as Engels put it, “it was the greatest progressive revolution […]