(Fwd) Pse send this onto wire

Stephen McBride ([email protected])
Thu, 20 Aug 1998 20:16:40 +0100

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date sent: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 07:52:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: lyndon nixon <[email protected]>
Subject: Pse send this onto wire
To: [email protected]

stephen, pse send this response onto wire cos i cant
post any more - i registered on my bigfoot (reflector)
address and when i email the list it doesnt recognise me :-(

re scarlet eyes post

i think this is an interesting demonstration of the
'Irish American' issue. Scarlets anger is understandable as his
irishness, something i know many descendants from irish
immigrants are
very proud of, is being attacked. Yet also i hope irish americans can
understand the antagonism of the irish here towards people who
claim to be
likewise irish yet are so removed from contemporary irish society. i
it myself as someone who struggles to express his irish identity in
society which is prejudiced against it.(i live in a predominantly

>Nothing makes me more sick than statements like the >previous ones.
>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
>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
>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
>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
>not true.

i think steve did exaggerate a little. north and south
are not as different as canada and sudan, in fact the crazy thing is
how much is shared by them. a lot of businesses operate north and
south of the border and products shared, making even northern
protestants closer in their culture to the irish than the british in
great britain. How many english/scottish/welsh head to the pub for a
Guinness? Yet at night in Belfast republicans swig their Guinness in
one bar and loyalists their Guinness in another. Young protestants
here are becoming a lot more accustomed and accepting of irish culture in
the north - we already both enjoy traditional music, though the prods
might prefer to say its Scottish and call barn dancing a ceili rather than
a ceilidh (scots gaelic rather than irish) ulster prods have their own
gaelic tongue brought over from scotland, Ulster Scots is pledged to be
supported in NI society along with Irish Gaelic in the Agreement. Of
course some protestant societies maintain a distance from the catholic
neighbours, particularly those immersed in loyalism and Orangeism. But
then again in times past Catholics enjoyed watching the Orange marches and
the OO and the AOH shared instruments (ah yes another interesting
similarity, both communities have marching organisations and marches on
special commerative dates). There is a bigger difference between Northern
and Southern Catholics, particularly as the latter no longer understand
the situation of the former (and even lesser so the americans and other
descendants but for different reasons. the southerners by and large live
in peace and comfort and have lost an understanding of the situation for
northerners ruled by a 'foreign' and 'oppressive' power. the americans and
others still remember the bitterness of the past and act like the british
are still like the rulers of 1916 even though they are not)

>> 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.

steves right - i was brought up in a household that was sectarian and
until i read a book about cross community peace work i considered the
'other side' to be not only wrong but i had a lot of hatred and ignorance
towards them. Only in the last few years through cross community work have
i begun to understand the mindsets of both sides and have what i hope is a
more enlightened view of the situation here. we still have to fight the
problem that most irish catholics dont really understand protestant
culture, even if at least now i think most protestants are beginning to
appreciate irish history and the reasons for past irish aggreviance
towards them. scarlet eyes' seems very bitter still about the experience
of his grand parents and for me this is a perfect insight into
irish-americanism - descended from those who were discriminated, oppressed
or starved from our land the following generations have carried on the
bitterness against the British, why else is there such a body of radical,
republican support in the US when in ireland itself Sinn Fein are one of
the smaller parties (2% is it in the republic? and about 10% until they
gained new support for their peace strategy in the north) scarlet eyes,
and all irish descendants abroad. heed the cranberries song 'zombie' - too
many people, both old republicans here in ireland and ignorant republicans
abroad - are still living in 1916. we're in 1998 and we are looking to the
future. The majority of Catholics in the North live peaceable lives
without discrimination and oppression. Britian is no longer the evil
undemocratic oppressor. There is still a lot of work to do as barriers are
broken down in our long divided society and trust built up between mortal
enemies. We saw an example of desperate head-in-the-sand republicanism
last week at Omagh. This is the time for Irish Americans, as well as all
Irish everywhere, to change their mindsets, stop living in the bitterness
of the past (anyone who still hates Britain for what they have done in
ireland should remember that there have also been many massacres by the
Irish over the past centuries also and so the British/Protestants have
much forgiving and healing to do also) and look to the future.

> "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.

scarlet, prove this. i think its safe to say Bosnians
living in Bosnia during the war will understand more about the
struggle there than i will ever do, watching it on the news just in my
comfortable living room. likewise, its fair to say those of us who have
lived in N Ireland for the past 30 years, whose parents have lived through
the troubles, whose families have been here for centuries, both Protestant
and Catholic, will understand the situation more than you ever will.

it saddens me the most to see so many 'Irish' abroad think that the
way to proudly declare their irishness is to talk about the glorious
struggle and throw about republican phrases (i've seen this done on
read the condolescence books online for the Omagh massacre and see
what the real Irish have to say about the 'glorious struggle' and
about an united Ireland.

yours, zeek
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