As debates rage about our troubled past, the republican strategy of substituting historical fact with propagandist fiction again rises to the surface.
This is done under the pretence that republican revisionism is a ‘narrative’. However when a narrative is told sufficiently frequently, it often becomes accepted by many as a true version of history. The point generally lost when the term ‘narrative’ is used in this context is that it represents nothing more than a particular slant on history, and is often so far-removed from historical fact it is the antithesis of truth. Republicans have long demonstrated their penchant for re-writing and re-packaging history to suit propaganda needs. Murderous attacks on unarmed policemen at the gates of Dublin Castle in April 1916 are glamorised by proponents of Easter Rebellion commemorations as Irishmen ‘striking out for freedom’. The irony seems lost that those against whom they ‘struck out’ most violently were their fellow Irishmen.
This isn’t anything new, but it is worrying that there appear to be some in our community and within politics who are prepared to facilitate persistent attempts to accept propagandist narratives as substitutes for historical facts. This is a dangerous path to follow.
Any acceptance of a warped version of history will have serious consequences for society in years to come.
Trevor Clarke, DUP councillor, Coleraine