The Myth Of Shared History?

A few years ago, there was some controversy over either the 60th Anniversary of “D Day” in 2004. Or maybe it was about the 60th Anniversary of the End of World War Two……..Maybe it was both. Anyway these are jamborees where serious BBC journos are dispatched to Normandy or Arnheim or wherever along with British Legion veterans to commemorate this type of event.

And the Great and the Good are there……was it Bush, Bliar, Sarkozy……..maybe even the “Queen” and folks from Belgium, Netherlands, Poland. But when was this……..er 2004? 2005? Why not invite the Germans? After all they were there too and its shared history after all.

Of course the British Legion chaps moaned into their elaborate handlebar moustaches…………Inviting Jerry? The Bosch???? And the British tabloids joined in………it was of course political correctness gone maaaaaaaad.

Which is what Conflict Resolution actually is. Take this Decade of Centenaries.

Obviously we all share History. But to what extent is History “inclusive” and “exclusive”. The Conflict Resolutionists have set up this decade as The Decade of Centenaries. It is my belief that they have compromised historical integrity……..To some extent (community cohesion or avoidance of violence) this is understandable, even laudable. To do so to create a new “smiley face” narrative for Norn Iron is just wrong.

Some time ago (March 2011), at another Conflict Resolutionist event…….artists, poets writers bloodied the noses of the do-gooders. They were not going to sacrifice their artistic integrity to create a good news narrative about Norn Iron. Their discipline is to observe what they see. It is not about Propaganda. It would be nice if historians felt the same.

The Ulster Covenant Parade…….scheduled to take place in Belfast on Saturday……is an event in our so called “shared history”. Despite the best efforts of the Conflict Resolutionists…..BBC, UTV……the nationalist community (especially along the route) is not over-enthusiastic.

More tellingly perhaps the unionist community shows no great enthusiasm for sharing it. It is THEIR EVENT. Their DAY.

The Parade goes ahed of cours……….with minimal restriction. No “supporters” will be allowed to pass St Patricks Church and the bands will be required to play hymns. The “Residents Protest” will be not number more than 150 people.

Despite the bad behaviour of Orangemen this year, they were safe in the knowledge that there would be no meaningful restriction…….the Centenary is literally a “once in a hundred years” event, the numbers are too great, the implied violence too real………in that sense it has to go ahead.

And yet there is a certain authenticity to it all. The commemorates the declaration of 500,000 unionists signing…………allegedly in some cases with their blood………this solemn covenant…….with the threat of violence if the British Government ignored their wishes. On Saturday half that number will turn out to parade or watch.

And of course back in 1912, no unionist had to rely on a Parades Commission to “dictate” how and when they walked what they still call The Queens Highway. Yet a precedent has been set which will not be lost on Catholic residents thru Norn Iron. Kick-the-Pope bands will be required to mind their manners passing Catholic churches.

Saturday seems a  hollow victory for Unionism. And a crushing defeat for Conflict Resolution.

 

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2 Responses to The Myth Of Shared History?

  1. The preeminence of violence is the most important bit that has been airbrushed out of the “celebrations” surrounding the anniversary of the Ulster Covenant. It was an anti-democratic rebellion against the wishes of the majority of people living on the island of Ireland by a small minority who through violence and the threat of violence sought to maintain their status as a quasi-colonial ruling elite (however far from reality that actually was). And who were quite prepared to rebel against their “mother country” in order do so.

    Does popular culture in Ireland or Britain celebrate the coming to power in Germany of National Socialism? Of Communism in Russia?

    What was James Craig and those who followed him but adherents to the same impulses of European anti-democracy and one-party authoritarian rule represented by Hitler, Stalin, Franco, Mussolini, Gömbös, Duca and all the rest?

    The Ulster Covenant needs to be placed in its proper historical context. Orange sashes were not that far away from brown shirts in the first decades of European history.

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