Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ireland and "the ghosts of the Easter Rising."

Many decades ago my cousin the university professor suggested a book called The Uses of the Past, by Herbert Muller.

It proved to be seminal reading for me in the run-up to my 1980s-era travel phase, and while perhaps a bit dated now, the book remains an invaluable rumination about why we should care about history's lessons.

The central conundrum about history is that its uses are so often discarded, leaving only "The Glibness of the Past." Ireland is a fine example of this traipsing through the foggy dew, although we indulge far too often in America, too.

100 years on, the Irish lay to rest the ghosts of the Easter Rising, by Ed Vulliamy (The Guardian)

The 1916 uprising against British rule was a first step to independence, but the violence that followed led to its marginalisation – until now

... But many people agree that the executed leaders of 1916 would turn in their graves at the sight of modern Ireland and this carnival. One could take any line of the Proclamation with which to measure the present, and at this moment some people inevitably do.

Those in the west of the country – whence the Rising really came – who have for a decade been trying to combat a vast gas project by Shell, refer to the proclaimed “right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland”, in a country known for its generosity towards multinational companies. Maura Harrington of the Shell to Sea group talks about “people not having the same awareness of colonisation by the multinationals now as they had 100 years ago of colonisation by the British empire. Different imperium.”

Coogan wonders what 1916’s founding fathers would have thought about “the way the banks have looted this country with the consent and connivance of the political establishment. More people have committed suicide during this period of austerity than were killed during the Troubles. Thousands lose their homes every week, or else remain courtesy of vulture-capital mortgages.”

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