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The War Nerd / April 12, 2011

First I have to get today’s big anniversary out of the way.

Today’s Fort Sumter Day. 150 years ago today, Charleston, SC, celebrated the birth of their precious Confederacy by bombarding Fort Sumter into brick chips. Colonel Anderson’s men inside the fort were in no position to do much, since the chickenshits in DC hadn’t had the guts to resupply or reinforce them. So they fired back at the shore until the fort was in ruins and they were out of everything, then marched out with flags flying and the band playing “Yankee Doodle.” Four years later they were back, and Sherman ordered the same shore batteries that had turned Fort Sumter’s brick walls into red gravel to fire 100-gun salutes as the Union flag was raised again.

And ten years after the end of the war, in 1876, Wade Hampton, the richest slaveowner in SC and a bigmouthed son-of-a-bitch even by Southern cavalry standards, was elected US senator from SC after his hired thugs, the “red shirts,” beat up any white who favored the civil-rights candidate and hanged a few black people who had threatened to vote.

Look at it that way, the whole thing that started at Sumter 150 years ago seems like a lot of trouble, not to mention 750,000 dead, for what we got. Too bad they didn’t garotte Hampton nice and slow, throw his corpse to the sharks, and hand SC over to the freedmen.

No time to waste on happy dreams though, because it’s been a great week for current wars. Something classic happened in Syria last week, something that you need to keep in mind to understand guerrilla war. There was a big funeral, and the Syrian army fired on it. This is what irregulars love: when they have a few men killed and they can stage a huge, noisy funeral and provoke the authorities into firing on it. Of course, some authorities take more provoking than others. From what I’ve read, the Assad family that runs Syria doesn’t take a lot of provoking.

Rifat and Hafez al-Assad: The Other Brotherhood

In 1982, the Assads, who belong to a weird Muslim sect, the Alawites, were fighting a Muslim Brotherhood insurgency that considered them very un-Sunni and way too secular. The town of Hama, near Damascus, was the Brotherhood’s stronghold, and after the Brothers ambushed an army patrol there, Bashir al-Assad assigned his brother Rifat to deal with Hama once and for all.

He did.


The army surrounded the town, shelled it for weeks, then went in looting and shooting anyone who didn’t look convincingly dead. Something like 30,000 people died. Funny thing is, antiterrorist gurus like Robert Baer are big fans of Syria for showing us how to fight terrorism.
What’s weird is that you can kill 30,000 people and the problem doesn’t go away. Syria’s still got problems with the Brotherhood, along with the problems every Arab regime has to deal with: huge numbers of unemployed young men, food prices rising fast, revolutions in next-door countries giving the kids dangerous ideas.

Deraa: Coffins get people excited

All this boiled over in the town of Deraa, near the Jordanian border. The kids rioted, smashing up the local Baath Party HQ, and the army fired back, killing a dozen, or two dozen, depending on which account you’re reading.

That set the stage for the big funerals. At this stage of guerrilla fighting the funeral is very, very important. For one thing, it’s one of the few times the rebels are allowed to make a demonstration of their strength in public. After all, they can’t forbid you from burying your dead. If they did, that would drive all sorts of conservative locals into the rebel movement, because nothing gets people madder than mistreating the dead. That’s a constant, just about everywhere, across just about every time period. I don’t quite know why, unless it’s the old “adding insult to injury” thing—killing being the “injury” and denying the dead a proper burial the “insult.” You’ll find most people get madder at insults than injuries. I don’t get it myself; like I’ve said before, you can do anything you want to my corpse once I’m dead. I’d much rather have my fingernails pulled out when I’m dead than when I’m not. Just wait til I’m room temp, that’s all I ask. But most people don’t seem to feel that way, and naturally every religion around is full of little rules about corpse-management that have to be obeyed or the great salamander will swallow us all or whatever.

So a guerrilla funeral is a show of strength, one the authorities can’t usually forbid outright (and if they do they generally regret it). And it’s also a traditional moment for having pretty intense emotions, another useful thing for the guerrilla strategist. You can’t arrest a mother for crying over her son’s dead body—but at a guerrilla funeral that crying mom is a political statement, almost a military act. At the most obvious level, the funeral says, “These guys were heroes” when the official position is that they’re terrorists, criminals, lunatics…those being the three most popular ways of describing people who attack the authorities. Just showing the fact that these guys have moms, and dads, and (usually) about a million brothers and sisters and cousins, not to mention a line of mourners stretching for miles, is a show of strength that the authorities can’t do anything about. And for all those cuzzies, this funeral is a solemn day, where they pledge their lives to revenge.

And that feeds into the whole martyr deal that’s very, very big in guerrilla war. Like I’ve said before, effective guerrilla movements start out, a lot of times, with an attack that isn’t even meant to succeed in conventional military terms. It’s designed to create martyrs. Those martyrs get funerals, and those funerals show the strength of the opposition, make the dead out to be heroes, and totally change the picture in most people’s heads, which is of a normal orderly place with the authorities in control. Suddenly you have to face the fact that they’re not in total control, that there are a lot of people who lean the other way, and that those people are serious enough to bury their dead right in front of the soldiers (because guerrilla funerals are usually attended by a whole lotta troops, “to keep order,” although their trigger fingers are itching to keep order by mowing down all those crying relatives.)

The authorities can’t win against a well-organized funeral. If they do nothing, they look weak—all those soldiers at the graveyard and yet the dead guerrillas’ mom was cursing them to their faces and they didn’t do a thing. Or if they do react, they alienate all the conservative religious types: “The army doesn’t even respect the dead!” If the soldiers don’t shoot unprovoked, you provoke them; it’s the commonest thing in the world for a guerrilla funeral to turn into a rock-throwing riot, then somebody fires a few shots and it’s all on.

The funeral thing is an example of the unstoppable simple perfection of guerrilla theory. All it takes is a few young guys willing to die, and truth is, they’re not that hard to find.
One interesting thing about these funerals is that when the guerrilla war has dragged on for a long time, people start to understand the strategic significance of funerals and get pissed off, almost jealous. The classic hilarious example of that is the ultimate party-crasher, Michael Stone of the Ulster Defence Association, one of those Loyalist hit squads from Belfast.

Michael Stone: About the mullet…Hey, it was the 80s.

In 1988 three IRA people, two men and a woman, were killed by the SAS in Gibraltar while they were trying to attack a British Army parade. Naturally the three bodies were sent home for burial, and naturally the burial called for the whole schmeer in guerrilla drama, which the IRA had down to a science by that time.

Well, a funeral is public, everybody knows when and where it’s going to be; that’s part of the whole appeal and power of the thing. Best of all, from an assassin’s point of view, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, the brains behind Sinn Fein, are going to be on hand.

So there’s this bitter Loyalist hit man, Michael Stone, hearing about it all the time on TV and drinking himself into a good big sulk, and he comes up with a plan: he’s going to attack the funeral. So he goes to the local UDA weapons cache and takes home the whole inventory: a semi-automatic 9mm, a .357 Magnum, and enough hand grenades to fill all his pockets. That may not seem like much if you live in Texas, just what you’d take to get groceries, but the UK has all these gun laws and by local standards, Stone was considered to be what they call “heavily armed.”

Right when they were lowering the IRA bodies, he shows up like the bad witch in the fairy tale, lobbing grenades and firing into the crowd. But this was not your ordinary crowd. They jumped him in a hot second. One IRA man tried to wrestle the pistols out of his hand and got shot dead. (Stone killed three people overall, not much of a total with a target-rich environment like that.)

Stone expressing his opposition to terrorism at Milltown Cemetery

As soon as the crowd saw that Stone was not a properly invited guest, they swarmed him, even though he was lobbing hand grenades to persuade them to keep a respectful distance. They actually ran him down among the gravestones and started methodically kicking him to death, although the troops who were (naturally) out in force for the funerals pulled them off before they could finish the job.

What funny about the whole thing is that jealousy thing. Around then, the late 1980s, the “Loyalists” (I don’t get what they’re loyal too though, because from what I’ve read the Brits can’t stand them) were getting a bad case of IRA envy. They started dressing like them, organizing themselves the same way, and now in one of the wackiest turns of the whole weird story, they’ve started painting wall murals of their martyrs just like the Catholics used to do. Actually, what’s even wackier is that there are tours now, I read, in Ulster, where the bus takes you around from one blood-soaked mural to another, soaking up the local atmosphere.

And guess who’s on one of those murals, four times bigger than life, just flingin’ grenades for all he’s worth? That’s right, Michael “Invitation? I Got Yer Invitation Right Here” Stone.

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34 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Dr. X  |  April 12th, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Is there no escape? I spent the afternoon taking notes from Allen Feldman’s post-structuralist analysis of the Norn Iron conflict, _Formations of Violence_ (just as much fun as it sounds folks) and here I find the War Nerd has got his NI mojo on as well.

    Just a couple of points – the Catholics actually got the idea of painting murals from the Protestants, and really took to it after the hunger strikes. I suppose it’s not inaccurate to say that the loyalists got the idea of commemorating their martyrs in mural form from the other side, though.

    The tours do exist and they’re worth taking, while the old-style conflict murals are still there. There’s a move afoot to replace all the gunmen with more acceptable heroes, like George Best or CS Lewis. I took some American exchange students on one of those mural tours a few years ago. They found it as eye opening as you’d expect. Especially the one painted in trompe l’oeil style, so that the masked gunman appears to be training his SMG on you as walk past the wall on which he’s painted.

  • 2. Michal  |  April 12th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Cool post. I never thought about it this way.

  • 3. 16 Shells from a 30.06  |  April 12th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    That’s some topshelf war-nerdery right there. So good I’m entertaining doubts of its bloggyness. Surely that was outta storage, and wasn’t assembled on the fly for daily blog fodder.

    Whatever the case, keep it up. Daily WarNerd offerings make my dick hard.

  • 4. Doug  |  April 12th, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Gary,

    What about the Romans? Seemed like their anti-guerilla tactics go completely against the whole “let the funeral go on and respect the family.” I mean crucifixion is a pretty heavy hard-core “fuck you” to the grieving martyr’s families. I would argue that Julius Caesar was no dummy when it came to suppressing the uppity natives.

    How about the Americans in the Philippines, burying muslims insurgents in pigs. Seems to have worked out pretty well for them. Like you said a lot of young men don’t care about living, but they do still care about looking bad-ass, cool and rebellious, especially after they’re killed (with a lot of pretty grieving girls attending their funerals). Making them look like a straight up bitch by desecrating their corpse seems like it would scare even the most cavalier and gung-ho martyr.

    Even the modern Chinese pretty much just make people “disappear” so there’s no body to symbolize and rally around. Or in the case of common criminals just throw the dead in the ditch and bill the family for the bullet. Seems to be working out pretty well for them.

    I think your typical Arab leader is probably just so superstitious and backwards himself that he doesn’t have the cojones to treat corpses like shit. My guess is even though Assad’s a cold motherfucker, he’s still scared of Allah throwing him in some hellfire.

  • 5. Alok  |  April 12th, 2011 at 10:15 am

    Funerals are fine for urban guerillas, i.e., where the support for the guerillas is pre-dominantly urban based. It’s a nice way to mobilize people to your cause.

    If your target population’s more scattered though, it doesn’t usually help. Tribal/rural guerillas need more than big showy funerals to drum up support.

    As you’ve yourself pointed out with the Nepal Maoists (and prior to that the Viet Cong, and well, the actual Maoists) you’ve got to actually address ground level grievances to drum up support. Martyrs are handy but where brutal death is the norm, it’s just another stiff. Plus a couple of hundred people is hardly a good turnout for such a funeral. (I don’t think it matters whether the dead are buried or burned, but a funeral’s a funeral).

    Best example of this dichotomy is in India actually.

    In Kashmir, where the rebellion is more urban based, large showy funerals are the order of the day (and not just because they’re all Muslims either). Crowd gets excited, stones get thrown, a lathi charge here, a few bursts of machine guns and next thing you know the whole Valley’s aflame. Curfews are imposed, businesses are affected and a new batch of school dropouts join the “disaffected” to set off a new cycle of violence next summer.

    In the heartlands of Chattisgarh where India’s Maoists are fuelling a tribal insurgency, large showy funerals are conspicuous by their absence. Maoists rely on addressing the fact that the Adivasis (what we call our tribals) are treated like shit by the plains people, and focus on replacing govt. services with their own. The tribals in the dark jungles are so far away from the mainstream that pretty much any lie that the local state Govt. puts up about how all tribals are Maoists anyway gets swallowed by most who can’t identify with these squat, dark skinned jungle dwellers in any case.

  • 6. Lavrentij "Anarch99" Lemko  |  April 12th, 2011 at 10:35 am

    An entertaining book on the Shi’a, if yer into reading about midnight orgies and the like:

    http://www.amazon.com/Extremist-Shiites-Ghulat-Contemporary-Issues/dp/0815624115

    Not perfect, but interesting and well footnoted.

  • 7. smacktoward  |  April 12th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Dear War Nerd:

    Love that you’re blogging every day now.

    HATE that you break paragraphs in your posts apart with line breaks rather than proper paragraph tags, as this results in the paragraphs having no space between them. It looks like an enormous run-on sentence.

  • 8. af6170  |  April 12th, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Here is an example of one, on an interesting website dedicated to cataloging North Irish murals. (“His Only Crime Was Loyalty”)
    http://cain.ulster.ac.uk/mccormick/photos/no550.htm#photo
    By any chance you you read Killing Rage by Eamon Collins? Very intersting book by a guy who was persuaded by the one-sided injustioce of the conflict, on top of humiliating police excesses, the Ulstermen violaed ceasefires without any consequences. So he becomes a logistics/operations planner. One day he’s meeting his cadre with his cousin Michael, the grunt. Michael reports on an assassination that Eamon meticulously planned and notes that one the way back he passed a target of opportunity. Eamon is all, no, don’t even think about it, our every move must be just and politically rigorous so we can win the hearts of the people or at worst make the government look worse than us. Their boss is like, hell, you come across another, go for it. This was a real problem that became visible when UK finally realized it had to stop being Israel (is there a worse anti-terror paradigm in the world than Israel?) and accepted SF, forcing the “real IRA” (the “Michaels” if you will, who are politically illiterate and just want to kill) to split and at the same time to be recognized by the Irish populace as “mere” terrorists.

  • 9. burbl  |  April 12th, 2011 at 11:20 am

    “The authorities can’t win against a well-organized funeral.”

    I beg to differ, the “authorities” should read Machiavelli and make a rule like “12 authorized mourners per coffin anyone in excess will be shot” or somesuch.
    I would curious to know how, say, the Romans delt with such quandaries.

  • 10. Judah Maccabee  |  April 12th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    What’s it going to take for these authorities to show these protesters a “whiff of grapeshot”, expose insurgents to public executions à la the guillotine?

  • 11. hahaohwow  |  April 12th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    lol at the nickname at the end. very nice brecher.

  • 12. DrunktankDan  |  April 12th, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    It is sooooo good to have you back Brecher. I don’t know what good fortune compelled you to bless us with daily fucking columns. It is truly mana from heaven upon us jobless unwashed masses.

  • 13. allen  |  April 12th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Hama is a very interesting episode in history that’s often forgot about in the West’s appraisal of the Middle East. They don’t know how to narritize Arab Socialist nationalists flattening a city to kill the Msulim Brotherhood off.

    It’s a complex region. Yet,if you hear most people talk they think the Middle East comes down to Mohammed’s detailed and precise guide to everything versus Western ideas of Democracy …

    The Michael Stone story is one I always rememebered as well. Crazy fucker shows up at a funeral throwing grenades.

    The Ulster Scotts are some of the most crazy and fanatical people around; settler colonialists gone mad … and yeah they’re very identity confused. They cannot figure out if they’re British patriots defending the crown, or maybe they’re really Northern Irish patriots continuing a long unbroken line of defending the honorable and noble North from the dirty degenrate southern hordes. Seriously they’ve taken to incorporating Cuchulain in their murals.

  • 14. Jack  |  April 12th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Good stuff as usual mate…im in the UK now..just read about some catholic cop who got blown to bits a week or 2 ago…so I am guessing something is still around there..though not much fun any more :/

  • 15. fnord  |  April 12th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Ah, check out the new nazi movement: Copying Autonomen symbols. They have ceded us the memetic front, and go for subversion.

  • 16. Charles  |  April 12th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Or what about when the funerals for those killed in Stone’s attack saw a passing car containing 2 off duty British soldiers…and decided to get their ‘revenge’. A truly shocking act and more reasons to hate the IRA.

    Talking of attacking funerals, well the closest thing, and probably even more shocking was the bombing at Eniskillen war memorial on rememberance Sunday. Totally barbaric.

    YOur right that most Brits don’t give a damn about NI though, even for the ones who are ‘loyalists’. It’s an economic basketplace with Taliban lite political and social views. Micahel Stone’s a fucksock- in 2007 he ‘attacked’ the Belfast assembly trying to kill Gerry Addams and McGuiness- he’s back in the slammer where he belongs.

  • 17. CensusLouie  |  April 12th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Speaking of Fort Sumter, I’ve had a long time question for the WR:

    What would have happened if the Confederacy never opened fire on them, or no other hostile action at any time? Would they have been left alone? What kind of history would we be looking at if we just said “fuck it” and let the plutocrat run south stay separate?

  • 18. derpotism  |  April 12th, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Doug: Where’s that account about Americans burying muslims in pigs come from? I know that whole thing about American soldiers massacring 99 guys and letting the 100th go tell horror stories was bullshit but I never read much.
    Also the counterexamples you raise can be explained by ethnocentrism. The human brain is pretty contextual; disrespecting the Roman dead can be a different matter than disrespecting Visigoth dead.

  • 19. Pilot MKN  |  April 12th, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    The Union did try to resupply Fort Sumter, which accelerated plans to capture it. The Union resupply fleet arrived during the middle of the battle and was driven back by Confederate gunfire.

  • 20. Technomad  |  April 12th, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    For Northern Ireland, read Kevin Myers’ Watching the Door sometime. He spent a decade in Belfast during the first ten years of the Troubles, talking to people on both sides.

    He concluded that the IRA and its Loyalist counterparts were nihilistic thugs who killed for killing’s own sake, and that the British Army didn’t know its own ass from a hole in the ground, and often made things worse.

  • 21. SweetLeftFoot  |  April 12th, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Oh please God (Taig or Hun version as required) don’t let this descend into a ‘Who had the worst atrocity in Ulster’ piss off. Its like Izzy/Pally versions, but by drunks on an 80s style messageboard.

    Of War Nerdery note though, the Gards are saying RIRA/CIRA/OnH have improved again on the old PIRA barrack buster mortars and car bomb technology.

    Given I have friends living in urban areas in NI, I hope to jaysus the mad bastards don’t start firing the big mortars again.

  • 22. Tragic  |  April 13th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    It’s too bad Lincoln was assassinated and didn’t have a chance to deport all the blacks to Liberia. ;-; Goddamn southerners.

  • 23. Stephen  |  April 13th, 2011 at 4:41 am

    Any thoughts on the suggestion that Saudi Arabia (perhaps with support from the usual suspects; Israel and/or United States) is behind the use of armed gangs?
    While I don’t doubt that many Syrians want to see the back of the Baathist regime, you have to wonder if the Saudis are using local supporters of Abdul Halim Khaddam (Banias native who lost out to Bashar Assad when Hafez Assad died and is King Abdullah’s brother-in-law) or Rifaat Assad (Bashar’s uncle who also happens to be King Abdullah’s brother-in-law) to stir things up.

    The Saudis benefit five ways (at least) from taking out Bashar Assad:
    1. Hezbollah’s supply line from Iran would be cut, so making Israel and the United States very happy (although I suspect that Hezbollah have ghost production lines for much of their weaponry);
    2. With the Saudis controlling Syria, there would be no more Syrian intervention in what the Saudis have come to regard as their personal fiefdom, Lebanon (but they forget that Shiites either are or soon will be the majority in Lebanon);
    3. The new “Syrian” government might be persuaded to “forget” about the Golan Heights, making the Israelis and Americans very happy;
    4. The Saudis roll back the so-called Shiite crescent, except they are never going to get back Iraq (Iraq and Iran almost certainly have more gas and oil reserves than Saudi Arabia which has been overstating its reserves for a while, so nah-nah-nan-nah-nah).
    5. The Saudis finally crush the “Arab Spring” as the Muslim Brotherhood are all Wahawahawahabi and those Wahawahwahabis are “all respect to the ruler” creeps.

  • 24. pimp of the Balkans  |  April 13th, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Violence would solve the issue beautifully, in Syria and NI both, if it was properly unrestrained. After Cromwell hinted they may not have a place in his heart, but they do have a place reserved for them “in hell or Connaught”, the Irish were fairly well behaved for quite some time. So were the all the civil rights advocates Assad the elder had that quiet chat with in Hama. The disapproving elderly religious guy, his wife, her nephews, the nephew’s young daughter and the daughter’s dog, a small pomeranian called Bo, were also entirely, entirely persuaded by the elegance of Assad’s arguments. And Cromwell’s arguments, even more so.

    It’s the cringing, cowardly tribes that lose to the sort of enemies described above.

  • 25. Flesh  |  April 13th, 2011 at 6:52 am

    @Charles

    “Or what about when the funerals for those killed in Stone’s attack saw a passing car containing 2 off duty British soldiers…and decided to get their ‘revenge’. A truly shocking act and more reasons to hate the IRA.”

    WTF? “off duty British soldiers”?

    In case you didn’t notice, not long after this incident, it came out/was admitted that:

    1) These guys were members of the SAS.

    2) They were serving in a signals unit of the SAS.

    Also, they were *ARMED*.

    So, what were these guys really up to?

    Looks to me like they were engaged in a surveillance operation. IMHO there was probably a bug (placed there in advance) at the graveside and these guys were listening to/recording the audio (and maybe even video) feed from the bug. This was done probably in the hope of obtaining intel from any possible “loose talk” by IRA members.

  • 26. Jack Boot  |  April 13th, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Suppressing a guerilla/terrorist uprising requires a level of brutality (killing all the post-pubescent males; killing and/or enslaving all the females & juveniles) that is difficult to achieve in a squeamish media age.

    Joe Lunchbucket – and especially Sally Soccermom – don’t like watching their sausages being made…

  • 27. smacktoward  |  April 13th, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I come back a day after leaving my gripe about the line breaks, and they’re all fixed! ALL HAIL THE WAR NERD.

  • 28. pimp of the Balkans  |  April 13th, 2011 at 9:45 am

    @26 re the females, Cromwell thought of that too and shipped boatloads of Irish girls as slaves to Barbados, Jamaica and the like, where the plantation owners had long complained they ‘had only Maroon women and Negresses to solace them’.

    The price of a fresh young freckly Colleen, all her own teeth, fresh off the Kinsale boat? £4 10s.

  • 29. Paddy  |  April 13th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I’ve been on that blood-soaked mural tour. It was fascinating. Not too many walking tours give you first hand accounts of pipebomb assembly.

    This is the best blog ever.

  • 30. Esn  |  April 13th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I just wanted to say that this is an awesome post. I learn something new and interesting every day here.

  • 31. CensusLouie  |  April 13th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Good to see Doug subscribing to that retarded myth of pigs blood being the only magical ingredient you need to stop guerrilla uprisings.

    If anyone honestly thinks that it would cause insurgents to totally rethink everything and lay down their weapons, instead of just further inciting the population, then you’re full on retarded.

    And you never go full on retard.

  • 32. TGGP  |  April 13th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    “bombarding Fort Sumter into brick chips”
    Really? I thought it was a bit of a phony battle. No Union soldiers died during the battle itself, although one caught a ball during the 100 gun salute. It took the Confederates a couple days to take the fort, and the Union forces a couple years. I would expect the latter time span to enable more structural damage.

  • 33. retho  |  April 14th, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Forget the Romans, or in fact, anything pre-cell phone cameras and www. Whole new ballgame now.

  • 34. Tommo  |  April 16th, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Yeh, I went to Belfast last year. It’s true about the murals and tours. I went off by myself, which may seem foolish to some. I do things by feel. During the Bangkok riots, I wandered up the street to see it for myself, expecting the barbarian horde, but there was none of that, so I kept walking til I was in amongst burnt out tanks and bloodstains on the pavement. Still didn’t feel threatened though, the Redshirts are super nice. Likewise, I was expecting surly Neonazi skinheads in Shankhill. Instead, I ended up taking snapshots of murals, had some hot chips and even bought a UDF patch from their souvenir shop.


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