Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Iron Lady

The death of Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has sparked quote a controversy over these past few days. Here in Derry, people took to the streets in celebration, graffitiing walls with slogans such as: "Ding dong the witch is dead," and "Rot in Hell Maggie Thatcher." Petrol bombs were thrown as people waved the Irish tri-color. 

Check out the video below containing some pictures of the celebrations in Derry:

Here is a statement released by Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin politician and alleged IRA member, who holds a seat in the Dáil Éireann (the lower house of the Irish Parliament):

April 8th 2013
Death of Margaret Thatcher

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams commenting on the death today of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said:

Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister.

Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.
Her role in international affairs was equally belligerent whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet, her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa; and her support for the Khmer Rouge.

Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering. She embraced censorship, collusion and the killing of citizens by covert operations, including the targeting of solicitors like Pat Finucane, alongside more open military operations and refused to recognise the rights of citizens to vote for parties of their choice.

Her failed efforts to criminalise the republican struggle and the political prisoners is part of her legacy.

It should be noted that in complete contradiction of her public posturing, she authorised a back channel of communications with the Sinn Féin leadership but failed to act on the logic of this.

Unfortunately she was faced with weak Irish governments who failed to oppose her securocrat agenda or to enlist international support in defence of citizens in the north. 

Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and 81.

Her Irish policy failed miserably.

It is an interesting time to be in Derry~Londonderry. We all have personal opinions about politicians and sometimes we tend to demonize them and confine them into polarized symbols. I can sympathize with the people who disagreed with her overly-forceful actions throughout the world.  Perhaps it's the idealistic American college student in me, but I would hope we could have these discussions in a respectful way that recognizes that she was an individual who had her own virtues and vices. Many Northern Ireland politicians have publicly condemned the celebrations of Thatcher's death including the deputy First Minister or Northern Ireland, and I hope others will follow.  


  1. Hey Elena - I tried to access the broadcast but could not - the commercials came through but I got a message: access denied - when I tried to view the broadcast. I agree with your conclusion - and I'm not an idealistic American college student - you are on the right track girl!

  2. Thanks Mom! I changed the video clip. It's just someone's homemade slideshow of the protests in Derry but it still gives you an idea of what the protests were like.