The Red Hand – A. Pogue & G. Duffy

Steve Russell and Gavan Duffy wrote:
“As to Ireland, you think it’s political (and it is) and I think it’s religious (and it is) and Mar says it’s the same think but I don’t think so. I think the politics of it could be worked out but the religious part of it is the tougher problem. Religion is relevant, of course, but the main issue in Ireland is and always has been security.”

Walking around in neighborhoods in north Ireland I kept seeing white shields with a red hand* in the middle, attached to lamp posts, sort of like the ones on crosswalk lights but always on “stop”. I spotted a fellow who had a red hand tattooed on his upper arm and asked what the hand symbolized. He was happy to explain that the British Crown had given Northern Ireland to some Scots [without consulting the relevant history books I’ll assume they were the sellout Scots, like the Campbells]. The first Scot to touch the shore would have his pick of the best land. One enterprising Scot cut off his left hand and at the right moment threw it on to the shore so he would get the first pick of the acreage. The fellow with the tattoo was a member of the Red Hand Commandos. Their self appointed task, with help from the Crown, was to keep Irish nationalists out of their neighborhoods, among other activities. Having taken the Indigenous People’s land they have to keep up a constant guard.


In north Ireland the “police stations” were fortresses for British troops. I saw plenty of British helicopters flying about. The situation was not as oppressive as the West Bank but the similarities were easy to see. It was tense. I’m sure a casual tourist who only wanted to drink, shop and go from castle to castle might not notice.

In Vietnam the French colonialists were Catholic. Enterprising Vietnamese would become Catholics so they could rise in the French colonial bureaucracy. They became French Loyalists. Get it? In Ireland the colonizing power is Protestant so the Loyalists are Protestant.

Religion, in itself, is meaningless.

Alan , the druid pagan, Pogue

Alan, the druid pagan, Pogue wrote: “Religion, in itself, is meaningless.”

I think you overstate the case, but I would agree that any religious issues obscure the real ones.

Gavan, the animist, Duffy

* Note: For more information about the ‘red hand,’ click here or here.

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1 Response to The Red Hand – A. Pogue & G. Duffy

  1. Richard says:

    “I’m sure a casual tourist who only wanted to drink, shop and go from castle to castle might not notice.”

    Alan – you must be kidding !! Maybe a blind and deaf tourist …

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