Yesterday, Saturday, April 18th, in the picturesque town of Kinsale, County Cork, a plaque was unveiled by an organisation calling itself Irish Veterans in memory of Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy, the inspiration behind the 2013 film Lone Survivor. The US ambassador to Ireland and a number of US Navy and military officers along with the local gentry were in attendance for the occasion. The story behind Murphy’s death is of course interesting, and got a good Hollywood re-telling (or so I’ve heard, not one for the “Gawd bless Murika” genre meself), but it does beg one thought-provoking question – why the feck are we allowing soldiers of imperialist wars to be honoured in our so-called neutral statelet?!
Admittedly I do not know too much about the man, nor do I really care too much about him. Perhaps he was one of the many, many working-class and impoverished men in the US and Britain struggling to make a living that see no alternative than to put their lives at risk by joining the armed forces in order to make a better life for themselves. Or perhaps he was one of the many, many racist, bloodthirsty so-called “patriots” that just want to kill a few brown people and keep America safe. Well, safe for middle-class white people at least. The Irish Examiner quoted Murphy’s parents as saying;
“Michael and his Seal team wore the patch of the New York fire department engine company 53, ladder company 43, who responded to the Twin Towers attacks, to remind them of why they were in Afghanistan – to stop another 9/11.”
Ah yeah, that’s why they started that war again. I guess he falls into the latter category then. But the character of the man doesn’t really matter, what matters is that in a “neutral” country with a long tradition of anti-imperialist struggle, it is now acceptable in some circles in Ireland to commemorate soldiers that die fighting for foreign armies on wars of conquest while also insulting the memories of our previous generations that died trying to break Britain’s imperialist stranglehold, which the US now holds on Afghanistan and Iraq srl. Yes, the Taliban are very bad, but the United States of America and it’s foreign policies have directly and indirectly caused the deaths of millions of people the world over. Here’s a simple flow chart of said foreign policy.
As disgusted as I am at this, to say I am surprised would be untrue. Affluent towns like Kinsale thrive on the tourist industry, and as is a regular past-time among the post-colonial slave-minded Paddies, groveling to Yanks is something such towns (their aforementioned local gentry at least) also thrive on. As the old idiom goes; “He who pays the piper, calls the tune.” Ah, begorah, sher where would we be without the Yanks and their money, boys? Case in point; a mural to Ché Guevara in the town of Kilkee in County Clare, where the annual Ché Do Bheatha festival is held in his honour, was removed by the town council a few years back after a few American tourists complained. But don’t worry, two more popped up in it’s place. Hon the rebels! Kinsale also has a 9/11 Garden of Remembrance, so maybe there’s a certain link between 9/11 and Kinsale that I am unaware of. Nevertheless, I wonder why they don’t open a Garden of Remembrance for the (some might say very conservatively) estimated 1.3 million people that have died because of the US-led “War
of on Terror” which was a direct result of the atrocities on 9/11. One. Point. Three. Million dead human beings in a “war” that was nothing more than an imperialist land grab – that’s like 9/11 times a thousand and a half!
But let’s not pretend that our little Brown Envelope Republic is in anyway neutral. Or even anything other than an Anglo-American satellite state. We let US war planes transporting troops for their imperialist ventures land and refuel at Shannon Airport, making us a legitimate target by any standard for would be militants seeking vengeance. British naval vessels, and those of other NATO aligned states regularly visit our ports. And the Irish Defence Forces are now more than ever taking on missions which you’d find it hard to believe are peacekeeping missions, such as defending Israel’s land grab at the Golan Heights. And look, there’s oil in them Golan Heights! There was also talk about sending Irish troops to stop impoverished Somalians from trying to grab some of the vast wealth sailing by their coast daily while they languish in civil war and famine. So let’s imagine it was Russian warplanes, North Korean naval ships and Irish troops sent into Gaza to defend Palestinian’s from Israeli airstrikes, or the West Bank to prevent further illegal settlement land grabs by Zionist extremists. Nah, I couldn’t see it happening either. So let’s stop pretending our state and the Golden Circle gombeens that run it are neutral.
The Democratic Programme of the First Dáil Éireann spoke about building international relations on the basis of empowering the working classes, not international relations based on the pillage and destruction of weaker nations. This is why Lt. Michael Patrick Murphy is no hero of mine. His Irish heritage means absolutely nothing to me, nor should it to anybody else. He was a footsoldier of US imperialism and died serving that cause. I’m sure his death caused a lot of grief for his family and friends, but that grief is drowned out a thousand times over by the tears and the blood of the millions of Afghan, Iraqi, Palestinian, Libyan, Syrian, Cuban, Somalian, Bolivian… etc. victims of US imperialist aggression. If we are to honour any soldier of Irish descent that fell fighting in far off lands, then we’d do well to back the campaign to erect a monument in honour of Ernesto ‘Ché’ Guevara in Galway. Not only would it be great to honour such a remarkable and admirable human being, but it would be even better still to piss off all those feckin’ American tourists and our own gombeen businessmen! One can only dream.