ESCLUSIVA. GERARD HODGINS, “MAI COME ORA L’IRLANDA E’ STATA LUOGO PIU’ SICURO PER UN SOLDATO BRITANNICO”
E’ il pessimismo a permeare la quinta ed ultima parte dell’intervista esclusiva a Gerard Hodgins. Il futuro repubblicano è reso nebuloso proprio dai repubblicani stessi, attualmente “inutili” nelle loro azioni e con la tendenza ad “infangare” la “orgogliosa filosofia repubblicana”. Un Repubblicanesimo frantumato come mai prima d’ora, e sempre più minacciato dalle infiltrazioni dei servizi segreti britannici
Part 5 – REPUBLICANISM IN THE FUTURE
F.B. A rather strong pessimism emerged from our conversation about the current situation of Irish republicanism. Have you had a change of heart or do you still believe that the values you risked your life for are worth the sacrifice?
G.H. The values are always worth the sacrifice and remain so. Just as no man has the right to put a block on the march of a nation, no man, republican or otherwise has the right to put a block on the advancement of the republican cause.
My pessimism towards the modern incarnations of republicanism stem more from the utter futility of what they are doing and observation of their practice and calibre of some of their personnel than anything else. I don’t believe they are adding to the proud republican philosophy, indeed I believe they are sullying it and I am more than convinced that the present debacle amongst republicanism is more the result of manipulations by security agencies through their agents of influence than Irish incompetence alone. The Brits penetrated the Provos at the top and led us down a cul-de-sac to just where they wanted us – having penetrated one of the most successful and resourceful guerrilla armies of the 20th century penetration of the current crop of alleged republican armies was hardly problematic for them.
The reality is dissident groups are heavily compromised. When I observe the middle aged men who have never had a connection or commitment to republicanism throughout their lives but have extensive histories in criminality and anti-social behaviours suddenly not only joining them but being accepted by them then I absolutely know that the dissidents are well and truly penetrated and being used by the British to bring about the destruction of the Irish republican philosophy through self-destruction. Kitson understood the Maoist analogy of the fish and the water and wrote how the waters must be corrupted, corrupt the water the fish swims in and the fish eventually dies.
F.B. I was greatly impressed by a sentence you told me some time ago that well describes the current situation: ‘We have too many groups, too many chiefs and not enough indians’. It seems like you are reproaching an excessive self-advertisement of some republican leaders. What do you believe the future holds for Irish Republicanism and what part do you see yourself having as part of this future?
G.H. Irish republicanism needs to re-evaluate itself and find a coherent and logical programme for the 21st century. What we have at the minute is an embarrassment and a betrayal of the sacrifices and efforts of so many for so little. The constant fracturing of republicanism into smaller and exponentially weaker groupings along with arrivals of new messiahs of dissent on the horizon does not auger well for republicanism in the short to medium term. Republicanism is so fractured the various groupings and personalities cannot even agree a unified approach on the issue of prisoners Indeed instead of unifying around a single common objective some of the dissidents actually use their prisoners to further division and disharmony amongst republicans.
Republicanism needs to reclaim the high moral ground of our proud philosophy and expose the corrupt and incompetent masquerading of those pretending to continue the armed struggle. Never in the history of Ireland has there been so many IRAs active in the field and never has Ireland been a more serene posting for a British soldier.
We do not have a war here at the moment despite the colourful rhetoric of some groups, nor do we have a single disciplined grouping with the capability, capacity or willingness to fight a war. I have watched over the years of peace and the growth of dissident organisations how many career-criminals gravitate towards these organisations and utilise the structures of these organisation to further their own criminal empires. If I can see it, and I know many people see it and recognise it also, what are the leaderships of these organisations doing? They have to take the blinkers off someday and put an end to this charade. Why is republicanism in the mess it is today? Because the British embarked upon a long term strategy to penetrate and influence the strategic direction of the republican movement towards its own demise; and despite knowing the lessons and experiences of their whole counter insurgency approach we have not yet learned from them.
F.B. In light of the political developments in recent years, and with the benefit of hindsight would you do it all again or what would you do differently?
G.H. I would do it all again. I have no regrets or remorse over my life, I wish some things had been different and less traumatic but on the balance of things I have no moral reservations over anything I personally have ever engaged in. It is the duty of each man and woman to assess their own position in life and become what they must become. My journey took me down the road of involvement in a guerrilla army trying to make life as difficult as possible for the British in Ireland, it is my life and it is a life I am proud of, not in a triumphalist or arrogant manner, but proud I was able to contribute in the way and manner that I did and proud I came through it unbroken.
Part 2 – HUNGER STRIKE 1981
Part 3 – THE “BETRAYAL” OF GERRY ADAMS AND SINN FEIN
Part 4 – REPUBLICANISM AND POWS