Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Northern Aggression

 I've been disconcerted by the recent uptick in violence in Northern Ireland.  I have ancestors from Roscommon, in the Republic of Ireland, and the subject of 'The Troubles' has fascinated me since I was a wee laddie.  My upstairs neighbor is an immigrant from Armagh, and her parents, both lovely people, still abide there.  

Thankfully, nobody has died during the current unrest, though youths are hurling bricks and Molotov cocktails, and a bus was hijacked and torched in Belfast.  The cause of the unrest seems to be complications of Brexit over customs and borders, and a failure to enforce masking and social distancing mandates during a funeral for a deceased Sinn Fein leader.  Politicians on both sides of the Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland border have called for calm.

Me?  I have one thing to say... you don't want to live in a Stiff Little Fingers song.  The members of Stiff Little Fingers were the last people who wanted to live in a Stiff Little Fingers song:

The rioters are too young to remember the 1998 Omagh bombing, an indiscriminate terrorist attack that killed 29 persons and injured more than 300.   The horror of that massacre, committed by an IRA splinter group, was a major catalyst for the peace talks... even the main body of the IRA was appalled at the violence.  The kids trying to ramp up the violence need to be forced to meet with survivors of the bombing to get 'scared straight'.  Nobody needs a return to the bad old days.


Anathema Device said...

The IRA never went away, nor did the Provos, both of whom are heavily involved in organised crime, and who need new young blood to keep the struggle going.

No one forgets a thing in Ireland about the Troubles - the only difference is if they consider the bombings a good thing or a bad thing. The idea that the IRA was sickened by Omagh doesn't really jibe with the continuing violence even after the peace process was begun. The mood had changed, support was dying away (most importantly, in the Republic of Ireland), and they knew it, so they participated in it, while 'dissidents' carried out shootings and punishment beatings. Both sides were at it.

So forgive me for being cynical and thinking that some of the same hands, the same motivations are behind this wave of violence, and it will only stop when those behind it feel they've got what they want. Which is almost certainly not what the people protesting want.

Richard said...

Don't talk to me about The Troubles. I wasn't there but refugees told me about it.
There is a novel, Two Boys at Swim that discusses this.
I want to talk about my neighbors. I want to understand them.
So far i am not having success.