“And if I were to begin singing, if I were to sing my song about the dead I collect, who knows what horrors would come pouring out them?” (Ismael Kadare  (2000), The General of the Dead Army, London: Harvill Press, p. 92)
How death, mourning, burial and remembrance has been ritualized, codified and tamed over the time within ETA (Euskadi (e)Ta Askatasuna, “Basque country and freedom”) in the Basque country, within the IRA (Irish Republican Army) in Ulster and within the FLNC (Fronte di Liberazione Naziunale Corsu, “National Liberation Front of Corsica”)?
What occurs when death of a member happens? The circumstances of death, funeral rites and destination of the corpse (cremation, burial or public display) proclaim the value and necessity of the ideas embodied in the organization’s goals, or not. Dying for the cause is a powerful scheme that invigorates any insurgent group. A coffin draped in the Irish colors, carried from a home to a church, preceded by a lone piper; Basque dancers offering an ‘ohorezko aurreskua’ (a dance of honor) to the dead; firing weapons over a coffin or during a meeting in the mountains of Corsica to celebrate the deceased combatant. However, members of these organizations have been quite unequally treated when it came to their death. Some members of these clandestine insurgent organizations died fighting, others died a natural death. Some died accidentally, while carrying explosives, others committed suicide. Some died at an early stage of their involvement in the organization, others died older. Some were executed by hit squads or sentenced to death by Justice Decision; others were assassinated by their own former comrades. Some passed away alone, others died in front of relatives, comrades or friends. Some, who were awaiting execution or were mortally injured, received the last rites. Others rejected or have been refused religious ceremonial. Some were celebrated and still are; others were disregarded for a while before being remembered again and, finally others have been entirely forgotten, erased from the annals. Deceased, hero, martyr, militant, comrade, brother-in-arms, traitor or more simply nobody: who is who and for what reason?
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Graham, B. & Whelan, Y. (2007). “The legacies of the dead: commemorating the Troubles in Northern Ireland”, Environment and Planning D, 25(3): 476–495
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