The victims’ industry

It must be interesting to be one of the folk that inhabits this strange world.

One day you are an ordinary Joe or Josephine and the next , courtesy of the PIRA’s bullet or Semtex, you are propelled into the heady world of Victimhood.

This means that your pronouncements, however crap they are, have to be solemnly  followed and that you must be invited to every “Victims'” event known to man.

At these occasions, you must get on your fake tan, do up your hair with the latest blonde  rinse and if you are a girl, wear a nice frock.

Why? Because a reporter will ask about your feelings and you must give a sound  bite.

Where will you go? Westminster, Stormont, Titanic, anywhere where the State thinks you can be plonked to do the least amount of harm.

Because the last thing the State wants is you , bleating and crying all over the place, annoying people and frightening the children of the Peace.

So the more silly events you can go to and speak at , like todays European Day of Victims , the less impact your story will have.

Occasionally , just for show, a State official will turn up, to express his solidarity , support and condolences and you will go away, energised.

Why? Because you were at the Top Table. You had a Reserved Seat. A Minister, some Tory Boy from London spoke to you.

Every so often, when the Peace Process is wobbly, Liz sends a family member over. What Joy! You get invited to Hillsborough, which is owned by the masses but which everyone pretends is owned by the Queen. You get on your best bib and tucker and you go through security , as if anyone would want to kill any Royal Prince.

At these events , if you are lucky , one of her relatives will speak to you, asking if you have ‘come far’.

You will go home, glowing with the fairy dust of Royalty.

The next day you will be just what you were, the son, daughter, husband, wife or other, of a victim of the Troubles. In that still quiet moment, before dawn, you will reflect on what might have been.

And you will, hopefully ,  rejoice that you are not one of the 268 people who took their life in 2014.

But also reflect on this. Not one organiser of any event that you have been to cares much for those 268 dead.

If they did, the events would be completely different.

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