Sunday, April 10, 2016

1916 and all that

It's been a funny old year. One hundred years on from 1916, the Easter Rising, and Battle of the Somme, some of the old wars are still being fought. Just not quite how I expected.

The commemoration of the Easter Rising in the Republic has seen a nuanced, mature reflection on a rising whose failure is nevertheless seen as a foundational event for the Irish State. The rising was acknowledged as deeply unpopular at the time in Ireland, but the aftermath - the vengeful execution of the leaders by the British military authorities - turned the tide of Irish public opinion. The suffering and deaths, of civilians and combatants on both sides, have been acknowledged.
one of "theirs"

Up North, the picture is grimmer. Sinn Fein (North and South) seemed uneasy at the inclusiveness of the commemorations. The DUP's attitude was churlish in the extreme - it was not for them to empathise with the other tradition in this island. They even refused to attend the civic reception in Belfast's City Hall that commemorates this Nationalist event in the current "decade of centenaries". They will only commemorate "their own" events, it seems.
one of "ours"
When will we be able to deal with the divisions and hurts of the past?

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