Irish music, war and history


This music video from Ireland says about itself:

30 November 2010

Wolfe TonesCome Out Ye Black And Tans

Words by Dominic Behan, music traditional

I was born on a Dublin street where the Royal drums do beat
And the loving English feet they trampled all over us,
And each and every night when me father’d come home tight
He’d invite the neighbours outside with this chorus:

Oh, come out you black and tans,
Come out and fight me like a man
Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders
Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away,
From the green and lovely lanes in Killashandra.

Come let me hear you tell
How you slammed the great Parnell,
When you fought them well and truly persecuted,
Where are the smears and jeers
That you bravely let us hear
When our heroes of sixteen were executed.

Come tell us how you slew
Those brave Arabs
two by two
Like the Zulus they had spears and bows and arrows,
How you bravely slew each one
With your sixteen pounder gun
And you frightened them poor natives to their marrow.

The day is coming fast
And the time is here at last,
When each yeoman will be cast aside before us,
And if there be a need
Sure my kids wil sing, “Godspeed!”
With a verse or two of Stephen Beehan‘s chorus.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Bloodied at the hands of the Black and Tans

Thursday 26th March 2015

PETER FROST remembers an Irish republican ballad that echoes events that happened 95 years ago this week

OH, come out you black and tans/ Come out and fight us like a man/ Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders/ Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away/ From the green and lovely lanes in Killeshandra.

I first learnt Dominic Behan’s fine song from the man himself in the pubs of what many locals in the mid-1960s called County Kilburn.

Kilburn in north-west London had a huge and proud Irish community and the traditional music nights were said to be as good as anything you might hear in Dublin, Belfast or Derry.

The song was always a favourite with me and my wife Ann. We both have some Irish blood in our respective families. Much later we would discover that the subject matter had direct relevance to Ann’s own family history.

We would also, later in life, on some of our many visits to Northern Ireland, explore those lovely lanes in Killeshandra. The town was once an important centre of the linen industry. Today its setting in beautiful lake country has made it is a popular centre for fishing, walking, wildlife and eco-tourism.

Dominic Behan’s song, written as a tribute to his father Stephen — and ironically set to the Orange march Rosc Catha na Mumhan, or Battlecry of Munster — brings alive the hatred of the brutal British troops who arrived in Ireland 95 years ago this week.

After the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 the execution of Irish leaders including Patrick Pearse and the dying James Connolly led to huge public outrage. This soon turned to support for the revolutionary Sinn Fein movement.

In the 1918 general election Sinn Fein won 73 out of 105 seats. In January 1919 the First Dail — the Irish parliament — declared an independent Irish Republic.

In the same month, the republican Irish Volunteers, fast becoming known as the Irish republican Army, began the guerilla campaign that would become the Irish War of Independence. The main thrust was to attack the hated Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) posts, police stations and barracks.

By 1919 the British administration, horrified by the low morale in the RIC, closed down and outlawed the Dail.

Westminster clearly needed new initiatives and the British government knew just what to do. In January 1920, the government started advertising in British cities for men willing to “face a rough and dangerous task in Ireland”.

Post-WWI unemployment and austerity meant there was no shortage of recruits, many of them veterans home from the trenches of Flanders.

By November 1921 about 9,500 ex-soldiers had joined. This sudden influx of men presented a real problem. There were not enough proper RIC uniforms to go round. Instead the new recruits were issued with war surplus khaki army trousers and dark green RIC or old blue British police tunics.

This sartorial odd mixture gave rise to their nickname, the Black and Tans. The name came from a famous pack of foxhounds from Limerick who wore similar colours. The title would stick even after the men eventually received proper green RIC uniforms.

The new recruits were given only three months’ hurried basic training, and were rapidly posted to RIC barracks, mostly in Dublin, Munster and Connacht.

The first Black and Tans arrived on March 25 1920 and immediately generated hatred and further resistance.

The government also raised a further unit, the Auxiliary Division of the constabulary. This group was made up of ex-army officers. The Black and Tans acted with the Auxiliaries and both were ordered to break the IRA by any means possible.

One of Ann’s relatives was murdered by members of the Auxiliary around this time. One of republican leader Michael Collins’s group, he was arrested and taken to Dublin Castle for questioning.

Just before nine o’clock in the evening he and a friend were released only to be immediately re-arrested for being on the street after the nine o’clock curfew. It was an old Auxiliary trick.

Dumped in the back of one of the Black and Tans’s notorious Crossley Tenders, they were driven to Phoenix Park and each had a bucket put on their head before they were shot at point-blank range.

The Auxiliary executioners were court-martialed but instead of any punishment their commanding officer offered his congratulations.

Black and Tans were paid 10 shillings a day, a substantial wage in those days — and they also got full board and lodging in special barracks.

With minimal police training, their main role was to strengthen the guarding of RIC posts. They worked as sentries, guards, escorts for government agents and as reinforcement to the regular police.

It took no time for them to gain a reputation for awesome brutality.

Black and Tans had little discipline. Deaths of Black and Tans at the hands of the IRA were often repaid with arbitrary reprisals against the civilian population.

In the summer of 1920, the Black and Tans burned and sacked many small towns and villages throughout Ireland.

One of the worst atrocities was the massacre of 13 civilians at Croke Park on Bloody Sunday November 21 1920.

Black and Tans and Auxiliaries opened fire with armoured-car-mounted machine guns on the crowd.

The Black and Tans justified the attack as revenge for Michael Collins’s assassination of an undercover RIC murder squad earlier that day.

In November 1920, they besieged Tralee, also in revenge for the IRA abduction and killing of two local RIC men. They shut the businesses in the town and let no food in for a week.

On the night of December 11 1920, they sacked and burned Cork city.

In January 1921, a commission set up by the Labour Party produced a report on the situation in Ireland. It was highly critical of the government’s security policy.

“Forming the Black and Tans,” it said “had liberated forces which it is not at present able to dominate”.

Since December 1920, the British government had sanctioned official reprisals in Ireland. The Black and Tans burnt property of IRA men and any suspected sympathisers.

Altogether 7,000 of them served in Ireland in 1920-22. More than one-third of them died or left the service before they were disbanded, along with the rest of the RIC, in 1922.

Today, nearly a century after the Black and Tans’ war crimes, these British bully boys are still remembered and still hated in Ireland.

“Tan” is still a term of abuse in Ireland. And in a delicious irony there is a medal, awarded by the Irish government to IRA veterans of the War of Independence. It bears a ribbon with two vertical stripes. The colours? What else but black and tan — just a tiny reminder of the colours of the still-hated enemy.

Yemeni civilians afraid Saudi air force will kill them


Residents of Sanaa on the ruins of a home destroyed by Saudi bombs

This photo shows residents of Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, today, on the ruins of a home destroyed by Saudi air force bombs.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today, which talked to journalist Judith Spiegel:

Terrified

Spiegel had contact with people in the capital Sanaa, the main target of the air strikes. “Last night the people did not believe that the Saudis would bomb, this morning the same people were completely terrified.”

She talked to a woman friend who lives in the city. “She said, we are waiting here with our whole family for death. That sounds dramatic, but that is how it feels there. If a bomb drops somewhere then you can hear that in the whole city.”

Also translated from NOS TV today:

In Sanaa today there was a big protest against the air strikes. According to [correspondent] Van Hoorn, many people feel panicked by the bombing. “There is hoarding there. People have no idea what they are about to suffer.”

US backs Saudi airstrikes against Houthis in Yemen: here.

Les USA et les Saoud au secours de Daech [ISIS] et Al Qaeda au Yémen: here.

Saudi bombing ‘worst ever’, Yemeni civilians say


This video says about itself:

25 March 2015

Saudi Arabian forces, joined by nine other countries, have launched a military operation in Yemen against Shiite Houthi rebels. READ MORE: here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

“This was bad bombing”

Today, 08:17

“Residents of the Yemeni capital Sanaa speak of the heaviest bombardments that they have ever experienced,” says correspondent Sander van Hoorn. The past few days Houthi rebels progressed in ever larger parts of the country. Saudi Arabia began therefore tonight, along with allies, a military operation in which some 150 bombings were carried out.

“The Saudis are supported by the United Arab Emirates and Jordan says they also sent fighter jets,” says Van Hoorn. …

US support

The support of the Americans, according to Van Hoorn, is more important. “They say they were aware of the operation. They do not actively participate in the bombing, but give, in their own words, information and logistical support.”

Already in 2009, the Saudi air force attacked Yemen.

Saudi invasion kills Yemeni civilians


This video from Yemen says about itself:

Saudi Arabian bombing on helpless civilians

22 November 2009

Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s dictators, Jordanian commandos and Al-Qaeda jointly attacking the people of north Yemen.

The only fault of these poorest people of the Arabian peninsula is they refuse to follow the Wahhabi cult imposed by Saudis.

That was over five years ago; when pro-Pentagon, pro-Saudi regime dictator Saleh was still in power in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.

As for now; from AFP news agency:

07:17 AM (Last updated: March 26, 2015 | 07:39 AM)

At least 13 civilians killed in Sanaa during Yemen offensive: civil defence

SANAA: At least 13 civilians were killed early Thursday in Saudi air strikes against Huthi rebels in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, a civil defence source said.

“Thirteen civilians, including women and children, were killed in the Saudi raids overnight,” the source told AFP. Witnesses said residents were helping civil defence officials to search for any more victims under the rubble of seven houses damaged in the raids.

By the way, the Saudi Arabian government and its Gulf allies in this invasion of Yemen like Bahrain (and, implicitly, its NATO allies like the USA) are now fighting in the war in Yemen on the same side as al-Qaeda and ISIS. While the al-Qaeda presence in Yemen for years has been the pretext for drone warfare killing Yemeni civilians, for supporting dictatorship in Yemen, etc. by the Pentagon.

ISIS Claim Responsibility for Yemen Attacks Which Killed 137: here.

Saudi Arabian government attacks Yemen


This video from Bahrain says about itself:

Saudi Invasion of Bahrain

27 March 2011

Since the very first day Gulf Shield forces have been attacking and killing innocent Bahraini citizens, it’s considered as an invasion and it breaks the international law.

The regime in Saudi Arabia seems to be not satisfied with just killing its own people, or invading Bahrain … so, now this news from Reuters agency:

Saudi Arabia Launches Military Operations In Yemen

03/25/2015 7:53 pm EDT Updated: 21 minutes ago

WASHINGTON, March 25 – Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies launched a military operation involving air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden where the country’s president had taken refuge, the Saudi envoy to Washington said on Wednesday.

Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir told reporters a 10-country coalition had joined in the military campaign in a bid “to protect and defend the legitimate government” of Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He declined to give any information on Hadi’s whereabouts.

He told reporters that Saudi Arabia had consulted with the United States but that Washington was not participating in the military operation. (Reporting By Matt Spetalnick, Yeganeh Torbati and Sandra Maler)