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Defining commemoration… October 12, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

A former Taoiseach opines:

On the challenges we were facing in the future, Mr Bruton said he believed it was very important that the commemoration of the War of Independence – “the first Irish civil war, as I would call it” – as part of the State’s Decade of Centenaries, should remember those who fought on the “unsuccessful side”.

“Commemoration is about reinterpreting who we are so that we can live well in the future, and making sure that any senses of identity or interpretations of history that might prevent us from living well in the future are confronted and dealt with. I think this is an opportunity as well as a challenge,” Mr Bruton said.



1. 1729torus - October 12, 2018

The Algerian War of Independence was partially a civil war as well, Mr Bruton is almost certainly technically correct.

That said, who are the other side in this civil war? Why are both sides worthy of commemoration? Ireland voted to leave. Does Mr. Bruton not respect democracy?

Furthermore, Mr Bruton has never explained how his idea of a gradual withdrawal from the UK would work in practice. He claimed that dominion status showed that the WoI was unnecessary since that is what the IPP advocated.in 1918.

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EWI - October 12, 2018

Apart from the fact that (i) it wasn’t a civil war (ii) that no other state experiences the post-colonial cringe needed to ‘honour’ the imperial oppressor and (iii) Lloyd George is on the record through the period in question firmly ruling out Dominion status (before being forced to the table), John Bruton is correct.

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1729torus - October 12, 2018

Plenty of Irish [Catholic] people served in the RIC, British Army, and even the Black and Tans [as I recall], so it was a civil war in to the same extent as the Algerian War of Independence.

The Algerian War wasn’t really a civil war, even if it satisfied the strict definition of one.

As for the colonial cringe amongst elites , that’s what happens when governments in Dublin decide to become too intimate with the UK and are too scared of provoking Loyalists

I suspect that Brexit will cause it the tendency to diminish substantially even as Unionism slowly declines in power and influence

FG have learned the hard way that being too conciliatory towards Unionism and London is a dead end, so they won’t bother spending as much political capital to push revisionism/reconciliation in future.

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WorldbyStorm - October 12, 2018

That last point is very interesting 1729torus, FG does seem to have woken up in a way that FF hasn’t, and I think it’s part generational. Varadkar et al seem in a way baffled by the Tories stance but also unwilling to bend over too much in the face of it (There’s also a thesis or two to be written on FG/DUP relations in the past two years which are strikingly sour).


1729torus - October 12, 2018

Leo Varadkar seems to appreciate that FG was in serious danger of being destroyed by the DUP and a hard border in a similar ways as the IPP were destroyed by the UUP and partition.

If FG allowed themselves to be screwed over by the DUP or London, they’d be crucified electorally for being too naive and spending too much effort on appeasing the UK under Enda Kenny.

Up this point, FG probably regarded SF as the biggest threat and wanted to align with the DUP to contain them.

This notion has no rational basis – how are SF a threat to FG? They fish in different ponds.

FG probably observed how an unhealthy obsession with SF was hurting the UUP and DUP, and have decided putting forward a positive agenda instead of attacking SF all the time is a better approach.

Liked by 1 person

2. Phil - October 12, 2018

“Commemoration. Commemoration. What does it mean? What does it mean? Not what does it mean to them, there, then. What does it mean to us, here now? It’s a facer, isn’t it boys? But we’ve all got to answer it. What were the dead like? What sort of people are we living with now? Why are we here? What are we going to do?”
– Auden, “Address for a Prize Day”

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3. Polly. - October 12, 2018

Wait, no no no no no. The country does not need this much relativism.

There was a long run up from 1916 to 1919. In that time, if you chose to stay in the RIC, or (did this really happen?) transition from the British Army into the Black and Tans, you might have been a decent person, making a legitimate decision on the facts you had, someone whose family can think well of them – but there is nothing wrong with saying that in the rear view window perspective of history, you picked wrong. Why not say that?

If we say all choices are equal, we place too low a value on treating choices seriously.

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4. Starkadder - October 12, 2018

Is this Brute-On’s “Very Fine People On Both Sides” moment?


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