With Maggie Thatcher's death Monday, thoughts of many in the Irish community turn to her role in the deaths of the 10 hunger strikers in 1981. John McDonagh, co-host of WBAI's weekly show Radio Free Eireann, revealed to The New York Times yesterday that he would be organizing a 'celebration' of Thatcher's passing on Saturday, at Rocky Sullivan's, prominent Irish pub in Brooklyn. He's not the only one -- parties are on the boards in Derry and Belfast as well, according to The Guardian.
Left, Margaret Thatcher / PA Photo
In the interview, McDonagh called Thatcher an enemy to Irish people “because of the destruction she brought to Ireland with her policies — she always thought of Ireland as a colony and never a country.”
Arguably, McDonagh's response might represent one extreme, with the long list of Tory mourners at her memorial service representing the other, with a wide range of views between them.
Meanwhile, we have assembled some info to bring to bear on the discussion, including a reminiscence of the Summer of the Hunger Strikes by Black 47 front ... and a ballad about hunger striker Francis Hughes.
What's your take?
From Mary Courtney:
F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E
Celebrate the end of the life of Margaret Thatcher with an Irish Wake at ROCKY SULLIVAN’S, ON Saturday, April 13th, from 3 – 6 p.m.
Join Radio Free Eireann’s John McDonagh, musician and publican Chris Byrne, Fr. Pat Maloney, New York’s next mayor Randy Credico and many others as Thatcher’s many atrocities are recalled in the writings of Bobby Sands, a reading of the names of the Argentinean sailors who died on the ship Belgrano, and a special statement from Peggy O’Hara, mother of hungerstriker Patsy O’Hara. There will be plenty of live music and poetry, and a collection of world renown artist Brian Mor’s Thatcher cartoons will be displayed.
For more information, contact John McDonagh at 646 479-8343 <tel:646%20479-8343> .
Others are staging walks following the route of Bobby's funeral procession... as one friend said...One man's angel is another's sinner, I suppose...
Appalling. Anyone is free to disagree with her (or ANY politicians for that matter), and even to dislike her on a personal level, but to throw parties and to speak so hatefully of another human being who had different beliefs than others is just so far out-of-bounds. I just think when we sink to these depths, we've really lost grip with basic decency.
Perhaps you are correct, Ryan... but shouldn't it also be said that judging people so harshly for how they choose to mark a passing is also unkind....many of those who celebrate now suffered family losses, personal loss due to events carried out during her time in power...and which ocurred at her direction or because she chose to turn a blind eye
I just wonder how we would feel if we had a loved one of our own pass on, and then see and hear all the vitriol and glee about that family member's passing. That's all it takes for me ... to put the shoe on my own foot and think about how that would feel. As I said, I see no moral problem with disliking Thatcher and her policies. I do see a lack of basic human decency in celebrating her (or anyone else's) passing with parties and paragraph after paragraph of hateful rantings. I didn't even see this much vitriol and celebration from Americans when Bin Laden was killed.
Having 3 ex-husbands, mo chara...I am sure that there will well be some celebrating done at my passing ;-)
I am not completely heartless, mo chara....You are correct when looking at it from a private citizen's point of view...However, as a public figure, I am sure that her family is used to such barbs. I will grant you that even so, when grieving a parent, the slights might well sting
I grew up though waiting for calls from my Gran to tell us how everyone was fairing...and Maggie Thatcher was akin to the Bogeyman. In fact, I think, as a child, I would have rather invited him for tea than her.
Yep ... two sides to every story, and two ways of looking at every politician, I suppose. I think Thatcher did some things very well, and could have handled other things better. Bringing it into the present, there are politicians both here in Ireland and back in the United States that are, in my opinion, destroying the foundations of their respective nations with their choices of policies. I even hold the opinion that some of them are doing it for highly nefarious purposes. Be that as it may, if one of these were to die tomorrow, I would not like to see people throwing parties and filling the internet with hateful rantings about that person.
He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 17:5)
That's not a principle everyone will embrace (and that's each one's choice to make), but it's something I believe strongly and keep in the back of my own mind.
I think we might benefit from stepping back here and allowing others to vent -- we don't have to like others responses to situations, but as students of the Irish experience I think we can assess them knowingly and tolerantly. I am most interested in the reaction to her death, not as it expresses harshness or insensitivity, but as it expresses her impact on the Irish and our ages-old enduring memories and grievances. I think on emotional issues such as this it is most productive to step back. Thatcher, by the way, ironically has in many assessments, has furthered the republican agenda, bringing it to the mainstream, 'in from the cold,' if you will.
Ger, mo chara,
I am of the mindset that everyone is entitled to their own reaction, actions and opinions. I stated mine and spoke of the reactions of others that I know. I accept that others are saddened by her passing. They have a different set of experiences than myself and some of my friends. Interesting to note is that it is not only Irish folk who have had such a visceral reaction to her passing. There was also rejoicing in areas all over England and Scotland.
I, too, believe that she brought revelance to the Republican agenda. I think if a different, more humane tact had been taken it would have been less so. The Irish seem to react more succinctly to such matters I think, in part, because history is more current. If that makes sense. You can't swing a cat in a pub full of locals without hitting someone who was either directly or indirectly negatively impacted by her policies
May she spend eternity gnawing on the grass at Abour Hill...