Pondering The Troubles

Two bombs planted by Irish Republican Army dissidents detonated on Thursday night in the Northern Ireland city of Londonderry, but no injuries were reported as police quickly evacuated the area following phoned warnings.

This is pretty much the way it\’s been going for a century now.

One group starts to fight for that United Ireland free of the British. They fight, there\’s some movement or not some movement towards the goal, those fighting die, grow old perhaps, and compromise on the new status quo and stop fighting. But then there\’s a new generation who regard the new status quo as not enough and decide to take up arms for the next leap towards the goal. Old IRA, Real IRA, 32 County and so on…..I\’m sure I\’ve left one of more generations out of this.

Note that I don\’t say that this is entirely accurate in detail, only that it\’s possible to see this pattern. Which makes this:

\”These are the desperate actions of yesterday\’s men. They seem to be more wedded to the struggle than to the cause they claim to be pursuing,\” said David Ford, justice minister of the unity government.

Inaccurate. They\’re doing exactly what every previous generation has done. Exactly what McGuinness and Adams did, refuse to take the settlement reached by the previous generation as acceptable and taken up arms to over turn that settlement.

Yes, they\’re still terrrorists, vile scum who will kill the innocent for vague political goals, but they\’re hardly doing anything unusual in the history of Irish Republicanism.

11 comments on “Pondering The Troubles

  1. The ratchet effect & why there’s never any point in compromising with a position that’s diametrically opposed to ones own. Meet it half way & the next time round you’ll be dividing the ground you thought you’d preserved. Best not to begin.

  2. I cannot remember who it was who stated the case more pithily as: “Only an Irishman would have the gall to sell the same horse half a dozen times over; only an Englishman would be stupid enough to buy it each time”.

  3. An Irish friend told me: the only thing that would remove the grievances of a true Irish republican would be for the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries not to have happened.

  4. In which case they would just revert to fighting the Irish. “Black Pig’s Dyke” is, what, C1 AD? And the “Cathach of St Columba” was carried in to battle.

    Or the Vikings, of course. And the Treaty of Windsor goes back to the C12, with “Poynings Law” in the late C15.

  5. Then there’s that old gag:
    Land two Englishmen on a desert island and they’ll start a committee; two Scots and they’ll start a bank; two Welshmen and they’ll start a choir; two Irishmen and they’ll start a fight.

  6. According to “1066 and All That”, the last person to answer the Irish Question was Alfred the Great. So the Irish went back to their bogs and thought up a new Question.

    We’ve been trying to answer the new Question ever since….I fear there is no answer, really.

  7. Or as was told to me by a Republican:

    The problem is the English memory is too short and the Irish memory too long

  8. stephen – “An Irish friend told me: the only thing that would remove the grievances of a true Irish republican would be for the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries not to have happened.”

    Oh come on. If the English magically made the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries not happen, the Irish would re-invent them. The Irish are nothing without their grievances, tenderly nurtured and tended over the last few centuries. Without them they would be lost.

  9. Oh, at least the Irish have a few massacres and (the lack of response to a) famine to blame the English for. The Scots manage to whine incessantly despite having been given the English Crown, bailed out for their Panamanian disaster and the bloody Barnett formula.

    (Mind you, there is also the comment about the Scots being endlessly at war with their ancient enemies – the Scots.)

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