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2016 and 1916? December 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Any thoughts now that the year has finally drawn to a close about what it all means. I have three tentative questions about this.

1: Was there a political or other benefit for anyone in the commemorations that were held during the year?

2: I was involved myself in one small national institution in its commemorative programme and felt that it was handled in an appropriate way, but looking at the broader picture could that be said of everywhere – good and bad examples perhaps?

3: And given that we’ve got a fair raft of dates coming down the line ahead what is the sense that matters will proceed usefully with them?

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1. sonofstan - December 29, 2016

I was back for a couple of days over Easter and we wandered around town on the Monday, with no clear plan of action (much like the original, wha’?). I thought it was something very special – instead of the kind of alienating pomp that some of our neighbours would have invested the occasion with, it was low key, inclusive – we watched loads of people from non-Irish backgrounds fully engaged in events – and sophisticated in presenting and contextualising events of a century ago. It was lovely to see the city packed for something other than work or shopping and to see people from the suburbs engaging with the landscape that was, hard to envisage now, the entire city in 1916, when half a million people were squashed between the canals.

For most of my life, the view from across the water has been that we are a people imprisoned by history, crippled by atavistic hatreds while ‘they’ are the grown ups. (a view supported by many here) The way in which narratives of national identity are playing out currently upends that one, I think.

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WorldbyStorm - December 29, 2016

That’s very thought-provoking what you say. I was involved in some of the local research in EW and assorted publications relating to that. What struck me was that this was genuinely a peoples history, and miles away from the great men and women approach.

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2. ivorthorne - December 29, 2016

I’ve missed most parts of the commerations but noticed Gemma O’Doherty complaining about millions RTE spent on something. Anybody have more information?

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Séamus - December 29, 2016

Maybe it was Rebellion. A lot of people complained about the millions RTÉ spent on that.

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EWI - January 2, 2017

REBELLION was pretty awful, a real indictment of the insular ‘D4’ mentality that passes for drama production at RTÉ.

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WorldbyStorm - January 3, 2017

Desperately poor, agreed. How they treat the WOI and civil war if they follow that template – doesn’t bear thinking about.

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3. EWI - January 2, 2017

Like the Rising itself, when looking at this centenary year you need to consider both what was planned to happen and what actually happened.

It’s clear that for the FG/LAB government the intention was twofold, namely to avoid any mention or promotion of revolutionary creeds and narratives from the Easter Rising such as republicanism and socialism, and to firmly exclude republican groups such as Provisional Sinn Féin. Ireland 2016, an organisation headed by a certain ex-advisor of John Bruton (and former lobbyist for the Kosovan government) didn’t start well, to put it mildly. Their launch video was disastrously inappropriate (not mentioning the 1916 leaders at all) and richly earned the public ridicule it had heaped on it. This State attitude (mirrored in certain parts of the local authorities such as DCC) has regrettably clearly persisted all the way through, seen in episodes like the banner on College Green and the promotion of the ‘Hibernia’ nonsense, an IPP motif. The bait-and-switch on including British Army ceremonies from Irish government resources has also been unfortunate.

Looking forward, it seems clear that FG intend to establish the Treaty as a counterweight to the Easter Rising, a partitionist narrative which is going to try to reinvent Collins, Griffith, Cosgrave et al as strongman champions of ‘democracy’. The recent (rather inappropriate) issue of 1916 centenary medals points the way, with the thoroughly partitionist and pro-National Army citations which accompanied them (as well as the carefully choroegraphed medal parades the length of the country, staged for maximum anti-republican effect0.

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