Monday, March 14, 2005

Sedition by Example VIII: The Green Ray

(Being an ongoing series exposing the abuses perpetrated under our archaic law against sedition)

Editorial, The Green Ray, May 1st, 1918:

The Memory of the Dead.

Once again it is our privilege to commemorate the men and deeds that made Easter Week, 1916, the most glorious pages in the annals of our race. "Life springs from death," said the first president of the Irish Republic, and fully believing in the truth of his words he ventured everything, and gave up all. We see that the vision God vouchsafed him was interpreted faithfully by the scholar and soldier, for can we not see rising from the rim of the northern ocean the resusciated Irish nation. Seventeen graves there are in Erin on which no man or woman may lay a flower, but vain! vain! vain! is that malice that extends beyond this world - to the tyrant it returns with redoubled fury, confounding him and laying him in the dust before the eyes of the nations, and raising up in power before him the little nation he attempted to destroy. To-day we see the value of those seventeen graves upon which no man or woman may lay a flower; we realise that the spirits of the martyred are permeating the soul of Erin, and that never before did she present so united a front to the world as she presents to-day. Truly God exalts the humble and cast down the proud. Precious to us should be the memories of the brave who gave up everything that the soul of Erin might be saved.

Let us remember the words of the First president of the Irish Republic, as, standing over the grave of O'Donovan Rosa in Glasnevin, he spoke for Ireland's untameable soul: "While Ireland holds these graves Ireland unfree will never be at rest." - The Editor

These words were deemed seditious for exciting disaffection against the government, inciting disorder, and encouraging the commission of offences against the public order, and both the newspaper's manager, Albert James Ryan, and its editor, Thomas Padraic Cummins, were prosecuted. Both were convicted and sentanced to 11 months imprisonment with hard labour.

(Source: The Green Ray, May 1st, 1918; New Zealand Truth, August 3rd, 1918 - though the latter has an extended version of the seditious editorial. I have gone with the primary source)