Sunday 25 September 2016

'I have never seen myself as white' says embattled Adams

Kevin Doyle and Niall O'Connor

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

Gerry Adams. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Gerry Adams. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Jamie Foxx played the title character in 'Django Unchained'

Gerry Adams continued to drag modern politics and even water protesters into his attempts to justify the use of the phrase "Ballymurphy N****r" on Twitter.

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In a sometimes bizarre radio interview Mr Adams denied being a racist, saying: "I've never seen myself as white."

But Mr Adams continued to draw comparisons between 19th century slavery depicted in the movie 'Django Unchained' and the Troubles. He stuck to using the 'Irish slave myth' to try and justify his shocking N-word outburst on Twitter.

During a lengthy defence of his use of the toxic word in a tweet on Sunday night, he even brought the water charges protest into his argument.

While apologising for his use of the N-word, the Sinn Féin president said: "I live a wee bit on the edge on Twitter. I enjoy it. I know it excites some comment. Some people see some of my tweets as a bit bizarre.

"I know some people think I shouldn't be on Twitter at all, at all. But sure in the middle of it all, despite the seriousness of the discussion we're having, you have to have a bit of craic and be yourself every so often."

Speaking on LMFM, Mr Adams insisted: "I saw a parallel as I have for a long time between the plight and the struggle for African Americans and people back here at home. I tweeted about that."

He described the Quentin Tarantino film as a "very violent but very powerful movie".

"I used the N-word, realised that was a mistake, deleted it and then apologised. But I stand over my main point, my substantive point which was to look at the broad parallels between what was happening in America with African American folks and what was happening in our own place," Mr Adams said.

Rambling

However, in a sometimes rambling explanation he then went on to drag modern day politics into the debate.

He said penal laws were ended because people stood up for themselves.

"People of my own home district, Ballymurphy, have stood up for themselves. And people in Louth whether it's water protesters, not trying to compare like with like, or demanding health services, or fighting for the hospital to be returned to Dundalk or better services in Drogheda, people standing up for themselves or their neighbours.

"While they may not be like with like because if you're being horsewhipped or hanged that's a different matter. But in terms of the dignity of human beings.

"I've never seen myself as white. That's only skin deep. I'm a human being. We're all human beings, whatever our skin colour, whatever our gender, whatever our ability or disability. The fact is we're all human beings and we all deserve to be treated properly. And it's all about rights and what was happening in America."

With elections looming, ­politicians from across the political spectrum in Northern Ireland were quick to criticise the use of the racial slur. SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said he found it "absolutely bizarre" Mr Adams would put out a tweet "with such racist language in it".

Nelson McCausland of the DUP said: "The comment is ­absolutely horrendous, not only in terms of the language by using the N-word, but also in that it shows what he really thinks of Northern Ireland."

Irish Independent

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