Monday, January 18, 2016

"A terrible beauty is born" -- the Easter Rising, and Fergal Keane's Story of Ireland.

Unlike memory, which confirms and reinforces itself, history contributes to the disenchantment of the world. Most of what it has to offer is discomforting, even disruptive – which is why it is not always politically prudent to wield the past as a moral cudgel with which to beat and berate a people for its past sins. But history does need to be learned and periodically re-learned. In a popular Soviet-era joke, a listener calls up ‘Armenian Radio’ with a question: ‘Is it possible’, he asks, ‘to foretell the future?’ Answer: ‘Yes, no problem. We know exactly what the future will be. Our problem is with the past: that keeps changing.’
-- Tony Judt

Soon it will be the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, which began on April 24, and as briefly summarized in this excerpt from the television documentary series The Story of Ireland (aired in 2011).

As for the series, the intensity of the comments on YouTube suggests that in the end, it's a generally fair and balanced presentation for those non-natives interested in an overview of Irish history. I recommend it as such.

Age of Invasions
1/5 Fergal Keane presents a landmark series charting the history of Ireland and her people.

The Age of Conquest
2/5 Fergal Keane charts Ireland's progress during the upheavals of the Middle Ages.

The Age of Revolution
3/5 Fergal Keane charts the changes wrought by the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century.

The Age of Union
4/5 Fergal Keane reveals how Ireland became part of the UK following the 1801 Act of Union.

Age of Nations
5/5 Fergal Keane looks at the dramatic history of Ireland through the 20th century.

Artist's impression of the executions: "There can be no doubt that the response of the British government to the Rising contributed measurably to the further alienation of Irish public opinion."

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