Death, War and Revolution are the most hated for any commoner matters. He is not aware that neither himself nor the world of his comfortable inhabitance would never have existed without them.
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus has called war “the father of all matters”. Questions of life and death of states and social groups were never solved by voting - when the History puts such questions on an agenda all the democratic dummy flies apart quickly, and Fire and Iron are brought into play.
A good example is the history of one of the oldest armies of urban guerilla in Europe - the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The IRA traces back even to the “Red Easter” of 1916, the rebellion for independence of Ireland. Insurgents amounted to less than 2,000 persons managed to stick out in Dublin for a whole week against the multiple surpassing in numbers British army. Then the rebellion leaders were captured and executed.
Originally the name “IRA” was to be understood literally - it was actually an army, as the saying is now, of the “unrecognized republic of Ireland” under command of its military minister. In 1920 the IRA destroyed 153 tax institutions, burnt down near 70 barracks of the English army. But in 1921 the English have come to an agreement with Dublin on separation of Ireland. The Catholic part of the island has acquired its independence, and six Northern counties with dominating Protestants (Ulster) remained under power of the British crown. The IRA didn’t recognize this division of their country and continued their armed struggle for complete independence. The IRA determined its long-term aim as “creation of Democratic Socialist Republic of Ireland” and expressed the nearest one briefly: “British get away!”
The new rise of the IRA struggle occurred in the stormy 1960es when the whole world was boiling with protests: students were raising barricades in Paris, the cultural revolution was being produced in Beijing and the Black were demanding their civil rights in the U.S. The Ulster Catholics (near one third of the population) demanded to grant them equal rights in 1968-69, too. The Protestants replied with massacres: hundreds of Catholic houses were burnt down. The British troops entered Ulster for “pacification”, and at first many Catholics greeted the “peacemakers” coming naively. But very soon the English brought even the most slow-witted to their senses having explained what they had come for.
One of apparent lessons was the “bloody Sunday” January, 30, 1972 in the city of Derry when British paratroopers shot down an armless rally of Catholics. The paratroopers were smashing some helpless wounded lying on the ground, in total 14 persons were killed.
No one soldier sought for medical aid. These events brought a powerful stream of volunteers to the IRA.
Afterwards explosions became routine in Ulster, 4 bombs a day exploded here at average. But the IRA was directed by Mao Zedong’s saying “A fish needs water to swim in”. That meant - revolutionary fighters needed population’s support, that’s why the IRA practiced terror carefully. The IRA particular manner was a warning call to police about mining an hour before the explosion.
The police had no time to prevent the explosion, it could only evacuate people. But certainly, the IRA terror was not bloodless: in total since the early 1970es it has demolished 1100 soldiers and officers of the British Royal army and Royal police and near 600 civilians. The IRA itself has lost up to 300 its militants killed.
The IRA launched bomb blows on British territory, too. Thus, in 1974 a bomb blow nearly destroyed the pride of the British - the Westminster Hall. In 1979 Lord Mountbatten, the Royal family member, was killed, and on the same day an explosion tore into pieces 18 British paratroopers. In 1984 the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and members of her Cabinet survived only by chance. In 1991 the IRA attacked the government residence at Downing Street by mortar fire…
The IRA has really taken the power in many Catholic neighbourhoods of Northern Ireland having declared them “free”. It established rather strict order here terminating hooliganism and any “outrage” at once. For example, drug dealers were simply shot down by the IRA militants…
Another big detachment of urban guerilla in Europe is the ETA decrypted as Euskadi Ta Azkatazuna (“Basque Motherland and Freedom”). The ETA fights for Basque Country independence from the Spanish crown, it shares many Marxist ideas. The ETA appeared in 1959 as a Basque student movement against the military regime of Franco. At that time the Basque language was prohibited, their culture was being prosecuted. In 1970es, after Franco’s death, the Basques acquired wide autonomy. But the ETA didn’t lay down their arms.
The main target of the ETA are police departments, barracks, gendarmes and bureaucrats. In 1968 the ETA has executed the police chief of the city of San Sebastián. In 1973 it blew up the Prime Minister’s car. In 1987 a supermarket was exploded (21 visitors were killed) - but later the ETA leadership apologized for that explosion. In total there are lives of 850 enemies and casual victims at the ETA’s account. An average period of an ETA militant’s activity is three years (afterwards he is killed or arrested).
But it is necessary to acknowledge that the period of ETA’s and IRA’s flourishing refer to 1970es-80es and seem to be over. Now both groups come to long-term agreements with their governments and carry on negotiations. What comes next? Would yesterday revolutionaries step by step turn into overworked icons for a good-minded commoner? It is not impossible, it happened at various times in history.
But would the eternal war be replaced by eternal peace so beloved for a commoner’s heart? Of course not! The war will only move to other frontiers, and new militants will raise the fallen banners.