What's past is prologue.
Over the past few years I would contend that we, the great unwashed have been spectators to a rail roading process as opposed to a peace process. As the past slowly but surely creeps up with Cruel Britannia and it's cohorts there appears to be an endless drive in the pushing of agendas from different quarters and a game of brinkmanship with the aspirations of the ordinary person relegated to the equivalent of a poker chip. In the midst of all this what concerns me most is the continuous attempts to sever the chains that hold the scales of justice.
When recently sifting through the various pieces of correspondence I noticed a real emphasis being placed on the need for a new body to deal with the past in the North of Ireland. The suggestions outlined in the correspondence are in direct correlation with those contained in the Hass proposals. This proposal involves the collective efforts of a proposed Historical Investigations Unit and Independent Commission for Information Retrieval. The HIU would have use of full police investigative powers whilst the ICIR would have the power to grant limited immunity.
In an ideal world the above proposal seems perfectly acceptable in that it would make things more maneuverable, but then we don't live in an ideal world. If the HET was unsuccessful then who is to say a Historical Investigations Unit would be any better? The idea of the Independent Commission for Information Retrieval really cracks me up, which is no attempt on my part to dismiss or underestimate the power of the truth. However what cracks me up is there are those who will be called to give evidence who are completely oblivious to the concept of truth.
In relation to the above proposals I would ask the following questions:
Will the proposal put the British Government on an even par with loyalist and Republican paramilitaries?
Will they be subject to the same scrutiny?
If not, why not?
If yes, is this proposal an acknowledgement that the period of conflict known as 'The Troubles' was more than a squabble between rival factions and will all sides claim legitimacy to their actions?
If yes and the parties involved can claim legitimacy for their actions will the British government admit that their criminalisation policy was a reactionary measure and wrong?
If yes will this mean that those who have criminal records as a result of their role have their slate wiped clean?
Will the British Government be forced to reveal their role in fueling Loyalist paramilitaries and turning a blind eye to the actions of agents in both Loyalist and Republican organisations?
If the answer is yes to the above four questions will there be a public acknowledgement of how the British State are not a neutral party between two sectarian factions in the north but part of the problem?
Will the powers given to this proposed bodies dictate whether the outcome of each case remains within the remit of the justice system?
Will this be a voluntary or mandatory process?
Will this process have international oversight from neutral parties?
If the process is operated evenly then where does this leave the innocent victims of Claudy, Ballymurphy, Kingsmill, Bloody Sunday, Greysteel, Loughanisland, Enniskillen and the Good Samaritan bomb and many more?
Will it render these victims as mere casualties of war?
If the British Government continue to claim the moral high ground then will this process be regarded as yet another exercise in lip-service and deflection?
With the emphasis being on moving forward I for one would question the failure to address the continuous use of practices from the past.
Practices which shaped our people, our past and continue to shape our future. Issues such as internment, which in the past saw thousands take to the streets under the Civil Rights Banner as was witnessed in Derry in January 1972. A day remembered for the murder 14 innocent civilians in a bid by the British establishment to silence the Civil Rights Movement by instilling terror and fear into our people.
It would seem in their rush to paper over the cracks and erase their wrongdoing the British state in conjunction with its parasitic offspring known as the Stormont assembly continues to allow the use of Diplock courts, the use of paid informants, secret courts and closed material proceedings. Some of those in Stormont would have been subject to measures like these, yet fail to have learned from what they and their communities suffered.
Lets get real how can we move forward when the problems of the past are still as large as life and twice as ugly, which I should add is no reference to the Stormont Assembly.
In the midst of all this the assembly leaps from crisis to crisis, the warning sirens about the economy are sounding out from every sector, and at one point it has been stated that Stormont could be in the red before the end of the year, if those in power cannot deal with the past, and cannot deal with the present, then what hope do they give for the future?
If they were a private company they would have been wound up by now.