Astonishingly, this centenary has been almost completely ignored in Ireland. I'm sure there will be a flurry of lectures and ceremonies and documentaries this week, but that's really nothing in comparison to the historic importance of the event. There surely should have been a whole year of discussion and commemoration. I'll admit it crept up on me, too.
People will point to Covid, but I don't think it's Covid. I think it's a profound anti-nationalism and globalism which pervades our whole political, media and other classes.
This historical amnesia is really depressing. The two great themes of Irish history are the religious question and the "national question". Generations of Irish people cherished the aspiration for an independent Ireland, a distinctive Ireland. Not only did many people die for it, but many, many people worked for it their whole lives, not just in the political arena but also in the cultural sphere-- reviving the Irish language, Irish sports and music, and so forth.
I can't believe the indifference of today's Irish to this heritage. Surely SOME appreciation of it is appropriate. Even if you think armed rebellion was a mistake (a very reasonable position), whatever attitude you take towards 1916 or the War of Independence or anything else, it baffles me that today's Irish can be so dismissive of the whole subject.
After the abortion referendum I heard quite a few Irish conservatives essentially renouncing their Irishness. I don't think it works like that, though. A nation is like a family and even when you profoundly disagree, you are still family. And yes, my Catholicism is far more important to me than my Irishness, but that doesn't mean the latter should be UNimportant. Religion and nationality are different things.
One of the core pillars of contemporary liberalism is a horror of belief, whether it be in religion or in political ideals. Everyone must be neutralised, and be content to be little more than a consumerist drone. Hence the passions at stake in the Revolutionary period are regarded with horror by the contemporary Irish Establishment.ReplyDelete
Indeed, belief implies potential disagreement! Today's articles of faith, like Pride and multiculturalism, can't be beliefs because they are compulsory and only ignorant, uneducated people could possibly disagree with them!Delete
Certainly, for one reason or another, the Establishment seems to disdain the Irish Revolution and Irish Revival.
The only semi-plausible reason for such downplaying is a fear of "offending" Ulster people given the possibility of a United Ireland seems to be slowly, slowly drifting closer this century. But I don't believe that - I think it's sheer indifference to anything other than money and virtue-signalling.ReplyDelete
I completely agree.Delete
My father (b.1935) always felt that there was always a reluctance about discussing it among older relations and friends, or mentioning the civil war or their allegiances, although, reading some of Behan, it certainly wasn't the case with everyoneReplyDelete
Yes, some people have made this point to me on Facebook, perhaps there's something to it. But even given that, I think it's surprising.Delete
It was a very sad day acknowledging the presence of the British here, putting your name on a line is valuable and somehow lends it legitimacy. It led to a further division in the 26 counties. Those men were under pressure to sign that treaty, caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, it led to friends who had fought together to fight one another and to a civil war. What is there to celebrate? I always think of that line, " “Michael Collins rose, looking as though he were going to shoot someone, preferably himself. In all my life, I have never seen so much pain and suffering in restraint.” How can we celebrate that? Sinéad.ReplyDelete
Good to hear from you, Sinéád. I'm not saying we should celebrate the centenary, simply that we should commemorate it. Commemorating it could even include lamenting it. But I certainly feel it should be marked and discussed.Delete
Lamentation perhaps, yes, it was a bad day all in all and we remember the bad days. They were all great men indeed, who would have wanted to be in their shoes that day. Sinéad.ReplyDelete