Derek Warfield's Music -- Right for Aer Lingus?

This article was first produced on TheWildGeese.com in April 2003.

POINT / COUNTERPOINT

Roy Beggs Jr. responds to our Derek Warfield interview.

Editor's Note: Before publishing our interview with Derek Warfield, we sent excerpts to Ulster Unionist politician Roy Beggs Jr., whose complaints brought attention to, if not actually inspired, the removal of Warfield's music from Aer Lingus flights. Below is Beggs' response, which arrived in our mailbox Friday (June 20). We have lightly edited the e-mail (for punctuation and typos). 

Roy Beggs Jr. website
Roy Beggs Jr.

Dear Tom,

Thank you for your e-mail and the selected excerpts from your interview with Mr. Warfield.

I would be happy to respond to your questions, and I would hope that you would allow me to address the misconceptions that Mr. Warfield and yourself have about me, judging by your somewhat sycophantic interview with him.

Just to be clear, I did not complain to Aer Lingus because of any antipathy to Irish music and culture. The fact is that the music of Derek Warfield and the Wolf Tones is in the opinion of many in Ireland as being sympathetic to armed militant Irish republicanism, in other words—terrorism, killing other human beings who do not agree with your political opinion. I would have thought that in the wake of 9/11 the true, evil nature of terrorism would have become clear to you.

The fact is that the music of Derek Warfield and the Wolf Tones is in the opinion of many in Ireland as being sympathetic to armed militant Irish republicanism, in other words—terrorism ...

That is why I wrote to Aer Lingus to complain about the songs they were playing on their in-flight entertainment. They are simply not appropriate for a state airline. I believe that I was totally justified in bringing this matter up, and I have been supported by many people who would call themselves Irish nationalists. Songs like "Ten Dead Men," and "Remember Bobby Sands," (a convicted terrorist who starved himself to death on a hunger strike)—what ... sort of music is that? Your comparison between playing Warfield songs and playing "God Save the Queen" is completely erroneous. A more accurate comparison would be British Airways playing "Here Lies a Soldier of the UVF." Would that be acceptable? Of course not!

On a wider scale, could I respond to some of the assumptions you and Mr. Warfield make about me? You say:

"Your philosophy is inimical to the cause of many in Ireland ..." What is the philosophy you are referring to, Tom? What is the "cause" to which you refer? Presumably, you are referring to Ulster Unionism, which basically adheres to the belief in the unity of the British nations as reflected in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The cause you refer to is presumably an all-Ireland republic. Am I not allowed to hold my views?? If not, that is a very dangerous position for you to take, it smacks of the notion of racial purity and the gas chambers. I am proud to say that my forefathers fought against that type of fascism in Europe 60 years ago—while the Irish Republic remained neutral.

A more accurate comparison would be British Airways playing "Here Lies a Soldier of the UVF." Would that be acceptable?

"This pro-English guy" ... I am an Irishman who also embraces a wider British identity, and is opposed to narrow, monocultural Irish nationalism. If that makes me pro-English, then so be it. Many Americans see no contradiction in calling themselves "Irish Americans." Irish Americans might also pause to reflect on who has been the most steadfast ally of the USA in the "war against terrorism."

"He lives in such a privileged, controlled ..." Perhaps you could name one privilege that I enjoy that is denied anyone else in the multiethnic pluralist liberal democracy that is the United Kingdom.

"The man would begrudge the air that I breathe." No, Mr. Warfield, I would not, all I want is for you and your friends to recognise my right to exist, and not try to force me against my free will into an all-Ireland republic through the use of bombs and bullets. Plus, I would prefer that you didn't write songs glorifying this tactic.

"Obviously, Begg is a Unionist and he's going to do what Unionists always do, that would be expected from him." Why don't you say what you mean rather than throwing out vague insults. Is it because you don't really know what you are talking about???

If you seriously think that the music of Derek Warfield speaks to the "heart and soul of the Irish people," then you must have a very black heart and a very dark soul.

I could go on, but, in general, the comments you have allowed me to see reveal quite clearly who the "intolerant" people are in this situation. A cursory look at your "historical" (should that be "hysterical") website shows that you have a very one-dimensional view of Irish history and a warped view of Irish patriotism. Your letter regarding the ex-IRA prisoner is actually quite sick.

Have you never heard of the Scots Irish and the contribution they made to the founding of the United States of America?

I would thoroughly recommend that you undertake some historical research into that aspect of your Irish American heritage. It might, just might open your eyes.

Thanks for taking the time to write to me, I will continue to campaign for the ending of terrorism and work for peace and reconciliation between the communities in Northern Ireland. Maybe you should do the same.

Yours sincerely,

Roy Beggs

P.S. If you seriously think that the music of Derek Warfield speaks to the "heart and soul of the Irish people," then you must have a very black heart and a very dark soul.

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Tags: Aer, Beggs, Derek, Jr, Lingus, Music, Roy, Traditional, Travel, Warfield

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