The importance of remembering.

On this day in Dublin in 1920 the British gunmen opened fire on the crowd at Croke Park in Dublin, murdering 14 spectators.

It was a reprisal attack for the stunning coup by Michael Collins’ squad earlier that day when his lads had assassinated 11 British Intelligence agents and two auxiliaries.

The IRA actions were forensically targeted.

The British response was to inflict death and terror on the innocent.

That awful day became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Michael Collins’ squad and the British they killed that day were a direct creation of the London imperium.

Empires, as I have written here recently, are built on slaughter.

The British Empire was no different in this matter despite what politicians like Gordon Brown or the occupants of Ibrox Park would like to believe.

Here in Richard Gott’s excellent piece in the Guardian he lays out the central issue for modern Britons apropos the empire.

“The British understandably try to forget that their empire was the fruit of military conquest and of brutal wars involving physical and cultural extermination.”

Gordon Brown said in 2005 that the British should stop apologising for the empire. I can only surmise that the taciturn Raith Rovers supporter hasn’t been to Ibrox that often.

Film maker Ken Loach’s riposte to this outburst was, as with everything Loach creates, historically literate, principled and humane.

“Sorry” is the most powerful word and the British have many things to apologise for to many many peoples around the world.

However in the absence of such an apology the leaders and opinion formers in Britain might consider at least taking a step back from turning their day of remembrance into jingoistic Mardi gras at football stadia where their armed forces pander to a fascist underclass.

The empire IS finished and the days when Britain was feared around the planet are long gone.

These days Britain struggles to deploy an adequately equipped brigade in the field.

That is the reality and it is at variance with the representation.

Britain is no longer a major power. It was the dominant superpower on the planet during the 19th century. That preeminent position was built on centuries of slaughter and theft.

Failure to challenge these dangerous myths of a glorious British imperial past could lead to murderous intent festering inside the head of the next Jason Campbell.

Lest we forget.

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