News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

January 09, 2005

01/09/05 – Hardliners in IRA Coup

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

SM 01/09/05 Hardliners In IRA Coup
SS 01/09/05 Family Saga Yields Few Pearls Of Wisdom


Hardliners In IRA Coup

Jan 9 2005
Exclusive by Paul Gilfeather Political Editor

TONY Blair fears that a new breed of Provo warlords has seized control of the IRA, weakening the influence of Sinn Fein leaders Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams.

The shock verdict came as the Provos were blamed for last month's £26.5million raid on the Northern Bank of Belfast.

The claim by Ulster police chief Hugh Orde has pushed the already faltering Good Friday peace deal towards total collapse.

Last night Downing Street sources revealed the "unauthorised" robbery had triggered fears within No.10 that the organisation was in the grip of a power-struggle.

Our insider said: "The feeling here is that Martin McGuinness's influence could be on the wane.

"Our intelligence tells us that there is a new breed of IRA man coming through which is more interested in gangland crime than politics."

But Mr McGuinness, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator, accused "securocrats" within the British establishment of trying to use the IRA to wreck the peace deal.

The Sunday Mirror has learned that a 16-man team carried out the raid more than three weeks ago. A top republican source has also passed us two names of paramilitaries they claim to be involved.


Family Saga Yields Few Pearls Of Wisdom

By Myrna Lippman
Special Correspondent
Posted January 9 2005

Pearl. Mary Gordon. Pantheon. $24.95. 368 pp.

The publication of a new book by Mary Gordon is always greeted with high expectations. The author of the novels Final Payments, The Company of Women and Spending, as well as the memoir about her father, The Shadow Man, Gordon can be counted on to deliver complex, searching and deeply moving stories about families and faith. Gordon, a self-described Catholic writer, addresses the issues of religious doubt and despair with compassion, understanding and hope.

Pearl, infused as it is with questions of the meaning of faith and family, does meet those expectations in a basically straightforward story. It opens in 1998 on Christmas night in New York. Maria Meyers returns home after a holiday dinner to a telephone message from the State Department, informing her that her daughter, Pearl, who is studying the Irish language at Dublin's Trinity College, has chained herself to the flagpole at the American Embassy there and has not eaten in six weeks.

Her motives are unclear: She may or may not be protesting a situation involving Irish politics or she may be doing this because of a teenage boy's death for which she feels responsible. Whatever the reason, the State Department representative informs Maria that Pearl is refusing any medical help, water or food and she has left two letters -- one for her and one for a close family friend, Joseph Kasperman. Maria is made to understand she must quickly get to Dublin.

After learning that an airplane seat and hotel reservations have been booked, Maria immediately calls her oldest friend Joseph, who is in Rome on business.

Maria and Joseph have a unique relationship. After Maria's mother died when she was very young, her father, a Jew who converted to Catholicism and became very wealthy dealing in Catholic religious art and consumer products, hired a woman to take care of his house and young daughter. The woman brought her fatherless son, Joseph, into the house with her, and Maria and Joseph grew up together. Following a Catholic high-school education, Maria enters Radcliffe College and, this being the '60s, fills her college years with protests against Vietnam and anything anti-establishment. She and her father become estranged over their wildly different philosophies and never reconcile.

Joseph goes to Harvard, thanks to Maria's father. He acknowledges he was "a grateful child ... and he has never been without this sense of obligation. He knew, always, who he was: a servant's son. A servant's son who had been plucked out of the gray, dead worlds he'd been born into, plucked by shapely fingers and cradled in the fine white palm of Seymour Meyers, given what had not been his birthright: education and access to the highest things men have created, treasured, prized."

Now a widower, he is surrogate father to Pearl, whose own father, a politically active Cambodian doctor, she never knew. By the time Maria and Joseph arrive in Dublin, Pearl's chains have been cut off and she's been forcibly removed to a hospital where others are already fighting for her life.

Maria learns about the people in Pearl's Dublin life: a lover, Finbar, who is a member of a radical Irish organization; a young boy, Stephen Donegan, nephew of an IRA hero and illegitimate son of an American IRA agitator; and Breeda, Stephen's mother.

In Ireland, Joseph and Maria clash over what course of action will best save Pearl, bringing long-standing resentments to the fore.

True to her body of work, Gordon raises the core question of forgiveness: "Can you forgive in the name of the dead? And must the living always forgive ... who is the self who did the thing and who is being forgiven ... If she can be forgiven in the name of the dead, must he not be forgiven by her, in her own name? ... Some things are unforgivable or everything can be forgiven as long as there is a forgiver."

Unfortunately, this sort of self-examination (if its convoluted questioning can be called that) is repeated endlessly. Additionally, it is difficult to relate to the spiritual quandaries of less than attractive characters like Pearl, Maria and Joseph. In the spirit of forgiveness, we will forgive Gordon for not giving us a more compelling and substantive story.

Myrna Lippman, a freelance reviewer and former book editor, lives in Boca Raton.

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?