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McGuinness may attend Battle of the Somme 100th anniversary

Irish-Rationalist

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Martin McGuinness is considering an invite to attend a memorial service marking the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. The Deputy First Minister has been included on a draft guest list for the event in France on July 1. Sinn Fein said any invitations to events will be considered.

A series of major ceremonies are planned across the UK and France on July 1 to mark the centenary. The Somme was one of the bloodiest battles of World War One with more than one million casualties over 141 days.

The fighting began just before 7.30am on the morning of July 1, 1916. Men of the 36th (Ulster) Division were among the 100,000 Allied soldiers who went over the top to face the Germans on the slopes around Thiepval and Beaumont-Hamel in the valley of the River Somme.

It was to become known as the British Army's bloodiest day.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness may attend Battle of the Somme 100th anniversary event - BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

Whilst many within both the PUL and CNR communities are going to have issues with a former PIRA commander attending a commemoration event for fallen British soldiers, it should be remembered that many Irish Volunteers also fought and died alongside their Protestant Unionist fellow countrymen at the Somme.

In light of the tributes paid to British war dead at Belfast cenotaph by former Sinn Fein Lord Mayors Alex Maskey, Tom Hartley, Niall O Donnghaile and Mairtin O Muilleoir, if Martin does decide to accept the offer and attend, this can only be viewed as a progressive and positive development.
 


Catalpast

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Its money for old rope really

I think he should go

I was out there in 2008 and 'walked the battlefield' (very few do)

- what a lot of people miss is that the British Army was attacking up a slope

- not really noticeable unless your footslogging

My grandfather was out there on the first day in the thick of it

- he was very lucky to survive that day

- let alone any of the other ones!
 

between the bridges

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As long as he doesn't stand beside moi, ant sharing me buckie with the fecker...
 

ardsman

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Awk bless his little cotton socks...he is deo trying like...










the fckur..
 

former wesleyan

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Ken Livingstone's going. 'Cos Hitler was there.
 

PBP voter

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He should go because it's the heritage of the Northern Nationalist slum dweller. They fought in huge numbers for the empire.

Eg James McClean grandfather.

Danny Morrison Grand Uncles. etc.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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nothing low about people attending genuinely,this is a stunt.
And how many extra votes is this "stunt" going to earn SF? If anything, they could very well lose a considerable few, and exacerbate the hostility towards SF already within Dissident ranks.
 

hollandia

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He should go because it's the heritage of the Northern Nationalist slum dweller. They fought in huge numbers for the empire.

Eg James McClean grandfather.

Danny Morrison Grand Uncles. etc.
That will fare well next time PBP go to the polls.
 

hollandia

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Considering the number of people from both communities who died, I can't see why this would be an issue. The families of many republicans have previously served in the british forces.

Though I think the madness of WW1 was best summed up by Edmund Blackadder: "If you mean, "Are we all going to get killed?" Yes. Clearly, Field Marshal Haig is about to make yet another gargantuan effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin"
 

michael-mcivor

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- what a lot of people miss is that the British Army was attacking up a slope

- not really noticeable unless your footslogging

!
Attacking- they were ordered to walk it to the German side by officers who never took part- and they filled those young men full of alcohol before they went over the top- British generals should have been took up for war crimes over the hoops they made their army jump through-
 

TruthInTheNews

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I remember meeting up with some Australians in London on Anzac day which is effectively the Australian national day of commemoration for Australian soldiers who died in WW1. We all sat down with a few beers to watch a young looking Mel Gibson in Gallipoli. There were a few tears shed at the end. After the credits had finished rolling I broke the silence by asking if the invasion of Turkey by the allies was justifiable. I got a few strange looks but by and large the Australians agreed that the invasion of Turkey was not justifiable and that Australia had been dragged into a war not of its own making by virtue of its membership of the Empire.

WW1 was not a just war in the sense that there was no moral obligation on nations that were not directly involved in hostilities to join in. The British would have been better off leaving the French and Germans to it. Without WW1 there would have been no WW2.

The fact is that the WW1 war dead sacrificed their lives for nothing. Why should their sacrifice be commemorated?

Ireland and India has similar experiences under British Rule and this included a distinct lack of enthusiasm when it came to honouring natives who were also members of the British Army. In my opinion the following passage which describes attitudes towards Indians who served in the British Army could also be applied to public attitudes in Ireland towards the British Army post 1921.

With British perfidy providing such a sour ending to the narrative of a war in which India had given its all and been spurned in return, Indian nationalists felt that the country had nothing to thank its soldiers for. They had merely gone abroad to serve their foreign masters. Losing your life or limb in a foreign war fought at the behest of your colonial rulers was an occupational hazard - it did not qualify to be hailed as a form of national service. Or so most Indian nationalists thought, and they allowed the heroism of their compatriots to be forgotten. When the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of the First World War in 1964, there was scarcely a mention of India's soldiers anywhere, least of all in India. India's absence from the commemorations, and its failure to honour the dead, were not a major surprise. Nor was the lack of First World War memorials in the country: the general feeling was that India, then freshly freed from the imperial yoke, was ashamed of its soldiers' participation in a colonial war and saw nothing to celebrate.


Why the Indian soldiers of WW1 were forgotten - BBC News
India and World War One - History Learning Site
 

Glaucon

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Unionists didn't bother attending any commemorations for 1916, why bother attending this?

Those men died fighting for a foreign army in a foreign land in a quarrel that was not theirs. Why commemorate this and not those who died fighting in India, in the Crimea, in the Boer War, or against Revolutionary France? Enough.
 

Aindriu

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Attacking- they were ordered to walk it to the German side by officers who never took part- and they filled those young men full of alcohol before they went over the top- British generals should have been took up for war crimes over the hoops they made their army jump through-
What a load of shyte! The daily tot of rum was given at night, was a tablespoon at most, and already diluted with water! Furthermore, British officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and below went over the top in FRONT of their men to LEAD them in the assault. The only reason they walked is because there was a general belief that the five days of constant barrage of the German lines would have incapacitated those Germans it did not kill. They didn't realise that the Germans had dugouts 30 feet or more underground - many lined with concrete - which protected the from the barrage.
 

Irish-Rationalist

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I remember meeting up with some Australians in London on Anzac day which is effectively the Australian national day of commemoration for Australian soldiers who died in WW1. We all sat down with a few beers to watch a young looking Mel Gibson in Gallipoli. There were a few tears shed at the end. After the credits had finished rolling I broke the silence by asking if the invasion of Turkey by the allies was justifiable. I got a few strange looks but by and large the Australians agreed that the invasion of Turkey was not justifiable and that Australia had been dragged into a war not of its own making by virtue of its membership of the Empire.

WW1 was not a just war in the sense that there was no moral obligation on nations that were not directly involved in hostilities to join in. The British would have been better off leaving the French and Germans to it. Without WW1 there would have been no WW2.

The fact is that the WW1 war dead sacrificed their lives for nothing. Why should their sacrifice be commemorated?

Ireland and India has similar experiences under British Rule and this included a distinct lack of enthusiasm when it came to honouring natives who were also members of the British Army. In my opinion the following passage which describes attitudes towards Indians who served in the British Army could also be applied to public attitudes in Ireland towards the British Army post 1921.

With British perfidy providing such a sour ending to the narrative of a war in which India had given its all and been spurned in return, Indian nationalists felt that the country had nothing to thank its soldiers for. They had merely gone abroad to serve their foreign masters. Losing your life or limb in a foreign war fought at the behest of your colonial rulers was an occupational hazard - it did not qualify to be hailed as a form of national service. Or so most Indian nationalists thought, and they allowed the heroism of their compatriots to be forgotten. When the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of the First World War in 1964, there was scarcely a mention of India's soldiers anywhere, least of all in India. India's absence from the commemorations, and its failure to honour the dead, were not a major surprise. Nor was the lack of First World War memorials in the country: the general feeling was that India, then freshly freed from the imperial yoke, was ashamed of its soldiers' participation in a colonial war and saw nothing to celebrate.[/I]


Why the Indian soldiers of WW1 were forgotten - BBC News
India and World War One - History Learning Site


It's essential to remember that the Irish Volunteers who participated in the WW1 British war effort did so as a means of attempting to demonstrate to the British that Ireland was worthy of home rule. There was a prize to be gained, that of home rule which would inevitably lead to the achievement of full autonomy and the establishment of an independent republic. The Irish who volunteered most certainly did not sacrifice their lives for nothing. Like the men of 1916, they made their contribution to Irish national independence, but in a very different manner. Their contribution is no less valid than that of Patrick pearse or James Connolly. Dublin Irish rebels and those Irishmen who signed up for the British war effort, all had the same objective; Irish freedom, and Ireland has nothing to be ashamed of.
 

physicist

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Unionists didn't bother attending any commemorations for 1916, why bother attending this?

Those men died fighting for a foreign army in a foreign land in a quarrel that was not theirs. Why commemorate this and not those who died fighting in India, in the Crimea, in the Boer War, or against Revolutionary France? Enough.
It's called Oneupmanship, or to be more PR Oneuphumanship.
 

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