Thursday, August 11, 2011

Terrorists, hooligans, vandals, blackguards.


These were the epithets flung at my people - even by their own - when the few struck out for Irish liberation back in the day. They were young and idealistic too. And could no longer bear the poverty and hardships and hopelessness with which they were surrounded.

A poverty I saw up close and personal. And I'm not talking just material – even though my ancestral lands were seized and my ancestors, including the infants, massacred (I've written about it here). I'm talking poverty of education and opportunity, of advancement and enlightenment.

My grandparents were tenant farmers on a couple of acres' holdings when I was a child. Things were beginning to change. But never fast enough for them. My grandfather would hunt our supper in the fields and speak of his rage against our terrorists, the English landlords. He carried the memories of shock and horror with him, passed down through the generations. I never knew what missions he carried out for the IRA before I was born - when Irish freedom was being fought for on the crossroads and hidden valleys of Ireland. He would be a terrorist/vandal/criminal in today's world.

Today's heroes were yesterday's terrorists. To the victors go the re-writing of history.

It is easy to say: yeah, we can understand what is happening in England and now in the U.S. – six generations of population explosion and living on welfare in the UK and nearly 50 million on foodstamps in U.S.: it must kill the spirit, the hunger for the “better” life they see on their televisions and the fact that their peaceful protests against injustice are ignored and not even mentioned in the media, their voices unheard. And then in the next breath condemn their criminality. Does it have to be this violent and destructive? Like the examples they see on their Teevees of invasions and annihilations of the innocents and conflagrations of property in Iraq and Afghanistan et al?

Well, the peaceful protests gained nothing – and this has gotten the attention of the world.

Just saying.

12 comments:

  1. Indeed! It'll have to carry on this way if anything is to change in any substantial way. It's sad and a sorry reflection on those in power.

    Still - one day there will have to be an end to it all, as there was to the Irish Troubles which had simmered and boiled over more than once, into mainland England. It took decades and blood and pain and loss of many lives, gargantuan effort and understanding. This current episode of revolt, after it has spread, as it will, will take a lot more and a lot longer to sort out. I'm thinking a decade or two at least. We're just on the fringes of it now.
    :-(

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  2. A roast in every oven and a Volvo in every garage?

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  3. I'm with you on that, T. It will take decades though the culling has begun.
    XO
    WWW

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  4. Veep:
    Ah! If only it were that simplistic!
    XO
    WWW

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  5. Indeed, the riots have got the attention of the world. But it's the attention of the British government they need, and that's what they might get for a week or two before they're swept under the carpet again now that order has been restored.

    The government must be really worried about disorder during the Olympics next year, but whether they plan to take young people's despair seriously or just increase the police presence on London streets remains to be seen.

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  6. I, too, Nick, feel we are on the cusp of more police presence, a la "Home Security" or a genuine wish for those lost voices to be heard and included.
    Call me Pollyanna :)
    XO
    WWW

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  7. Their will be cosmetic band aids applied to the wounds, but nobody will cure the wounds, I'm afraid.

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  8. I agree Nora, the voices will be silent, the lessons unlearned. Until the next time and the next time.
    XO
    WWW

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  9. My sentiments, 100%. I'm linking to this on my blog.

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  10. I Tweeted this. I really don't see why "we" don't see that what we wreak on countries like Afhanistan / Iraq isn't heroism undertaken for the sake of liberty, and so on.

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  11. So much injustice. So much rage. So much in the greedy hands of so few... All that forms a complete sentence in my brain are Kristofferson's lyrics "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

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  12. Sadly we now live in a world where only violent protest hits the headlines and stands a chance of changing anything.

    Though why the Brit rioteers were taking their anger out on Footlocker rather than David Cameron or our rip-off banks or oil companies is anyone's guess and I have no respect for rebels without a cause.

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