Roger Casement: Butterflies and Bones review: blood and thunder

Secrets Of The Black Diaries...Picture Shows: Image order No HK6737 Irish Patriot and British Consular Official Sir Roger Casement (1864 - 1916) is escorted to the gallows of Pentonville Prison, London. TX: BBC FOUR Friday, March 15 2002 Getty Images/Hulton Archives Roger Casement, former British Consul to the Congo, was hanged for treason for his role in Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising. His conviction rested on a set of diaries that suggested he had pursued a highly promiscuous homosexual life. Under the social mores of the day, such a revelation deprived him of all hope of clemency. But were the diaries faked? BBC Four investigates the 85-year-old mystery. WARNING: This Getty Image copyright image may be used only to publicise 'Secrets Of The Black Diaries'. Any other use whatsoever without specific prior approval from 'Getty Images' may result in legal action.

Secrets Of The Black Diaries…Picture Shows: Image order No HK6737 Irish Patriot and British Consular Official Sir Roger Casement (1864 – 1916) is escorted to the gallows of Pentonville Prison, London.
TX: BBC FOUR Friday, March 15 2002
Getty Images/Hulton Archives
Roger Casement, former British Consul to the Congo, was hanged for treason for his role in Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. His conviction rested on a set of diaries that suggested he had pursued a highly promiscuous homosexual life. Under the social mores of the day, such a revelation deprived him of all hope of clemency. But were the diaries faked? BBC Four investigates the 85-year-old mystery.
WARNING: This Getty Image copyright image may be used only to publicise ‘Secrets Of The Black Diaries’. Any other use whatsoever without specific prior approval from ‘Getty Images’ may result in legal action.

If you’ve never heard of Roger Casement, who was executed by the British for treason 100 years ago today, the reason is as simple as it is sad, he was homosexual. For that reason he was ignored when he was not being written out of our revolutionary history.

Jeffrey Dudgeon, MBE has written two wonderful insightful books into Casement,

and

Aidan Lonergan has written that there are ten things we don’t know about Casement:

  1. His Antrim father fought in Afghanistan
  2. His Anglican mother secretly baptised him as a Catholic
  3. He was looked after by the people of Antrim after his parents died
  4. He exposed one of the bloodiest colonial regimes ever
  5. What he saw changed him
  6. He sought German backing for an Irish rebellion during WWI
  7. Some see him as a gay icon
  8. Arthur Conan Doyle campaigned against his sentence
  9. He converted to Catholicism on the day of his execution
  10. A hundred years on from the Easter Rising, it’s important to remember Casement

However, as with all history, it is open to interpretation, and I know that different camps will have different feelings towards Casement, his impact on Irish history, and on Gay History.

The musical about him was one such attempt, and I hope that if it comes to a theatre near you, you will make an effort to see it and view it through the eyes of someone who is probably far older than he was, and also who has the benefit of a society that is beginning to be accepting of LGBT people.

 

Roger Casement is (again) centre stage, but this time it’s the dance world that’s exploring the many facets of his life

Source: Butterflies and Bones review: blood and thunder

1 reply
  1. Seán McGouran
    Seán McGouran says:

    When was Casement “written out of revolutionary history”?
    This is an astonishing piece of counter-factual ‘history’.
    Antrim’s main GAA stadium is Casement Park in the Belfast suburb Andersonstown.

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