August 02, 2005
MENA go bragh!
Poet Thomas Lynch in a new book writes that "[m]aybe it is time we looked to Ireland again for some clues to the nature of our ethnic imbroglios, our jihads and holy wars, and to how we might learn to live peaceably in the world with our 'others.'.... For here is a nation with a history of invasion, occupation, oppression, tribal warfare, religious fervor, ethnic cleansing, sectarian violence, and the tyrannies of churchmen, statesmen, thugs and hoodlums. And yet it thrives on a shaky peace, religious convictions, rich cultural resources, and the hope of its citizens."
Perhaps due to tribal chauvinism, I've always said that Ireland is an accessible historical model for westerners to use to study the shoulder-chips and paradoxes of ethno-religious conflict, decolonization, social modernization without the heavy-handed and distorted Arab Muslim stereotypes in the way.
For example, back in the 1930s and 1940s both the Arabs and Jews of Palestine aggressively compared themselves to the Irish under the British. The similarities and differences form a good basis for reflection. Even Irishman George Bernard Shaw saw it, commenting on the Balfour Declaration that "we are creating another Ulster." (Regrettably I can't source that quote though I know it exists.)
Posted by Matthew Hogan at August 2, 2005 12:00 PM
Filed Under: Political Development
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You know, I like this. But one needs a better roadmap of comparison to develop this. I do think the Ulster-Palestinian territories-Republic angle is highly apt.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at August 2, 2005 12:33 PM
Hard to do because everyone wants to claim to be the oppressed in each situation. Of MENA more generally, I have seen Algeria referred to as "France's Ireland."
Posted by: matthew hogan at August 2, 2005 06:36 PM
One time I read a speech of Arthur Griffith regarding the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1922 and substituted Palestine and Israel at the right places and everyone thought it was froma contemporary debate on the Oslo accords.
Posted by: matthew hogan at August 2, 2005 06:39 PM