Irish American/Irish/American people (Re: Re: Re: Sunday Bloody Sunday - Bono's and Lennon's

Karine Maucourt ([email protected])
Thu, 20 Aug 1998 11:27 +0200 (MET)

                        Hi U2 lovers !

        Just thinking they're both right. Let me explain it to you (if
you're interested)...

"Scarlet Eyes" wrote:
>I respect what Stephen has said, but I have to comment on a few
>things...This IS NOT a flame, I just need to make you understand a few
>things about me, an Irish-American.

        Wise thought :-)

Stephen R. McBride wrote:
>> Now the concept of the "Irish" American irritates me for a number
>> of reasons, which can be summed up as follows. If you are born in
>> America, you are an American. Simple as that. You may have
>> Irish antecedents, are American, immersed in American
>> culture and the American way of life. You are no more Irish than I
>> am Zimbabwean!!

Scarlet replied :
>Nothing makes me more sick than statements like the previous ones. No,
>I've never lived in Ireland. No, I've never directly experienced the
>horrors there. There are MANY things about it that I do not understand
>or comprehend. But there are many, many things I do understand. My
>grandfather was a Catholic from Ireland, my grandmother, a Protestant
>from Scotland. They were forced to marry in secrecy and then emmigrated
>to America, because of threats made to their lives! Threats to their
>lives, made by their so-called christian neighbors as well as family
>members. I AM part Irish, and know EXACTLY what it is like to be
>Irish...its in me in a way that I can't explain. The stories I could
>tell about my grandparents and what they went through in the name of
>religion, makes me sick to my stomach! Their experiences affected my
>father greatly, and in turn, myself. So yes, I am Irish AND American.
>Birthplace is only a portion of what I am. So please don't say that
>Irish-Americans are no more Irish than you are Zimbabwean. It's simply
>not true.

        As maybe you know, here in France there are many people who come
from many different countries, so we have many examples about people who are
french by birth but have parents or/and grandparents from foreign countries.
I don't know if you remember the composition of the french national football
team ;-) Compared with french "autochtons", i mean people who live here for
many generations, they can be considered as foreigners in many ways. For
instance, they can have partially a different way of life, i mean, different
customs but compared to people from their original country, they're very
different. They're always considered french by those people. In fact, their
lives are a mix with french customs and customs from their original
countries. In this case, it means that Irish-Americans are neither totally
Irish nor totally Americans, they're somewhere between. It's obvious that
Irish-Americans are Americans because they grow in USA and not in Ireland
but it's also obvious they are Irish in part because they have common
customs with Irish people. When you live in a different country, it's
obvious you're different, even if you share some parts of your ancestry.
BTW, i think Stephen is excessive. It's the same thing with Canadian people
who live in Quebec, they're not really french even if they share with us
common language and common roots. Their life is very different from our.
BTW, they're also different from other Canadians.

>> To understand Northern Ireland, you have to have grown up in
>> Northern Ireland, and even then, it doesn't work, because most
>> people grow up on one side of the religious divide or the other,
>> totally unaware of the other's alien culture, even though it may
>> just be down the road.

>With all due respect Steven, you have no clue about what I know about
>Northern Ireland.

        If he didn't ask you before, sure ;-D

>> Have you noticed that U2 actually say very little about Northern
>> Ireland? As I've said, that's because they're from the Irish
>> Republic which is as different to the north as Canada is to Sudan!!

>Tell my grandparents that!

        I supposed Stephen meant that life for an Irish is very different in
North and in South. And it's true in some way. Another example which comes
in my mind is a little different but still interesting. There was the same
kind of problem in Germany between the west people and the east people.
These both parts of the same people lived in very different countries. I
mean, to share common roots doesn't mean you're the same people. BTW, this
example can be considered as an extreme example. I use it just to enlighten
my thought.

>> They are entirely different cultures, and thankfully U2 have always
>> recognized that, as Dubliners, they are very isolated from the
>> horrors of Northern Ireland.

>Isolated?? U2 are what they are because of their perspective on the
>horrors of Northern Ireland.

        Maybe Stephen meant, U2 don't live the horrors of NI in their daily
life. To live them and to see them on TV are two distinct things. And this
can be applied to Irish-Americans too. But it's sure this conflict affects
them very strongly.

>> Bono realised the importance of appearances, and obviously
>> understood the subtle nuances in Northern Irish political life, that >
>can mean the difference between peace and death.
>> "Irish" Americans simply do not understand this.

>I, as well as many other Irish-Americans "understand" much more about
>the struggle than you will ever know.

        Well, i think you're both excessive. I personally think that, even
if it's not enough, you have to live in the country to understand the
subtlety of the political life of this country. But it's also true some
Irish-Americans can understand this conflict. For instance, Elizabeth Platt
understands well this conflict, as an North-Irish wireling said once to me.
And it's why i debate with her about this, because i wouldn't loose my time
with someone who would talk about a subject he/she obviously doesn't
understand. BTW, i'm not sure so many Irish-Americans understand this
conflict. I think "Scarlet Eyes" was upset by the statement Stephen made
about Irish-American ignorance. But i also think Stephen didn't forget that
some thoughtless Irish-Americans gave money to support the war in NI. And
maybe he didn't forget the Irish-Americans'behaviour in U2 shows in 1983
when they wanted to give money for Bobby Sand during SBS. This behaviour was
an obvious proof these people didn't understand at all the conflict and even
the song. U2 and surely many people were chocked by this. BTW, it's also
sure today they understand better the conflict and the song.

        Just my thoughts...

        In the name of love


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