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“Once mighty priests and Provos, powerful men peddling sacred myths in the exercise of squalid and petty power, were brought low by women who could not be terrorised and silenced.”
Gerard Howlin (Opinion, October 22) takes no prisoners in his full-frontal broadside on Gerry Adams and Co... However, he proffers predominantly only nominal nuance and appraisal, on what is something of a much, much broader, deeper, and more complex archival mosaic.
It is, of course, civilised and morally apposite to investigate and then offer support to people with allegations of rape and alleged cover-up, etc. No balanced empathetic spirit could deny such attention to a worthy case. However the deeper extrapolations and interpretations when couched in polemic á la Howlin, lose credibility as they are trenchantly biased from the off.
Electoral realpolitik then enters the equation, and political opponents will all want to make hay by conjuring a sudden heartfelt orientation towards a media-driven issue, despite the innate personal and societal gravity of this issue.
Sinn Féin’s popularity in the polls, allied with a visceral revulsion with everything to do with Gerry Adams & co. is the main driver behind the succession of vindictive media attacks and competitive political machination we have read in recent days.
Of course, none of this should serve to diminish the travesty visited on anyone who has suffered rape or other severely debilitative and damaging traumas. It’s just that the media and politicians have to exercise probity in their analyses, alignments and enactments. .
The Northern conflict has featured so many sordid travesties on all sides abounding (state-agencies included), that plucking one such from the morass of a yester-year within a deprived, often somewhat depraved, society serves no-one well in the round.
By all means the media must and should enquire but always with balance, free from competitive political gainsay. Nobody deserves easy exoneration for appalling crimes committed and camouflaged, but equally the prevailing context has to be fully identified and filtered through an appropriate lens. And this should be a lens befitting of the scope of enquiry or commentary envisaged.
Otherwise, we are left only with partisanship and parsimony of perspective. “The abuse of power by Adams... is the abuse of people, and principles, as commodities”, concludes Howlin. The misuse of media columns is a misuse of privilege which can diminish us all.
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