THE PLANTER GENE ? by Harry McAvinchey

cry the beloved country

Let’s dig into this one . What is it with unionists and nationalists and their belief systems? What for example , is going on in Northern Ireland  as regards support for  things like Israel , immigration , the Muslim community, racism.?

It would appear that one community supports the Palestinians and the other neatly supports Israel. It’s becoming more apparent  with Israeli and Palestinian flags popping up across the land …joining the already profuse  union jacks, tricolours and the rest. We hadn’t enough flags already, eh ?

What is going on with the choices here though? The unionist and nationalist communities are madly insular in many things but when it comes to struggles across the world they  seem to follow a similar pattern. Like chessmen on a board, they seem to pick opposing sides  ,as sure as god didn’t make little green apples. No matter how far away the conflict….The idea that  one community will always take  the opposing side of the argument to his political and cultural rival on the other side of the road.How did Northern Irish people simplly arrive into these opposing viewpoints in so many instances?

You’d imagine that the Protestant Unionist  community would, as Planter stock themselves, have some sympathy and empathy  with any immigrants arriving into their community here in Ireland,  as basically, the “New Planters”. That doesn’t seem to be the case though. More and more there is evidence of racism and racist behaviour appearing and most of it seems to be evident in the “Planter” Protestant Unionist  community .The  original Planters don’t appear to have much tolerance for these New Planters amongst them. Is that too simple a reading of the situation or is that simply biased news reportage ? Is it happening in Nationalist communities to the same extent? Is it only apparent in  a crowded city like Belfast or is it happening in smaller towns and villages across the country  too?

Then there is the Gaza conflict. The battle-lines appear similarly drawn with the Unionist  Loyalist community supporting anything and everything  the Israeli troops do, whether morally questionable or not. They don’t blink an eye when confronted with the growing death toll and will trot out  ready excuses as if to justify it. The nationalist community is in support of  the beleaguered Palestinians , to all intent, if only on humanitarian grounds. Both of these supporters may have no commonality as regards the differing cultures and religions of the two peoples  .Muslims and Jews ..Different coloured skins maybe …Well the only similarity to the Protestant community is that the Jewish Israelis are “white” and they are seen as planters. They certainly have little else in common with white Scottish Irish Protestantism . Again , what is going on here ? Is there underlying racism at the bottom of it, or what?

I suppose you could argue that the Protestant Unionist community  were siding with the  white South Africans during the apartheid  regime , while the Nationalists of every shade  here supported the black community’s fight for a  fairer society. Is this because Nationalism supported  Mandela?

I know , from a personal perspective , some of my own views were formed by reading Alan Paton’s “Cry the Beloved Country” as a young teenager at school back in the early  1960s. I was simply on the side of the anti-apartheid regime from that point. There certainly seems to be a pattern here. What about the Australian aborigines and the the Native Americans? Which side do you imagine either of our two communities would take ? “Bury My heart At Wounded Knee” is worth a read …..

The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement took its lead from Martin Luther King’s movement to civilise America and to break down racial bigotry. Why did not more Protestant Unionists think that it would be a worthy ideal here too? Why did they not join that movement in their droves and join with their Nationalist neighbours for a similar cultural revolution? Only a handful joined as far as I know or remember. Did they automatically assume that Civil Rights for all was something they couldn’t abide by? Did someone say …Civil Rights are a really bad idea, we’ll not be having any of that here!

 I dare say the struggle  for Civil Rights in America would break down into similar lines of support here in Northern Ireland.  There are those that support a humanitarian ideal of  a fairer society and there are those who oppose it for their own reasons. The question  is …how does an entire community arrive in that position? Is it taught ? Is it osmosis? Is it in the genes? Maybe it is not so simple . Maybe there are Nationalists and Unionists whose support for either side is much more changeable. You never really see or hear evidence of it though.

10 Responses to THE PLANTER GENE ? by Harry McAvinchey

  1. Anthony Leisegang August 17, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    You make an interesting comparison or two.
    What may interest is that Paton’s book (he was at school in iXopo with my dad) was a setwork book in all public schools (translated into Afrikaans too) in South Africa too — throughout the years of apartheid.
    Essentially it is a story about a country lad falling foul of the law in the big city.
    During apartheid years there was indeed much sharing between unionists (Calvinists) and the Afrikaner government of South Africa, but it was the rebel South which provided inspiration to the Boers as much as the Boers of the Anglo-Boer Wars inspired the Catholics of the South.
    Genes? What about world socialism at play? The Russians back the Muslim Brotherhood and its genocidal constitution, of course.
    And what about the “agin the gov’ment” anarchic tradition?

  2. Micheal August 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    The reason, in my mind is Nationalists feel and remember what the Palestinians are going through. We were once forced out of our houses, had entire streets of property burned and destroyed by the Loyalist people of Ulster who decided we were not worthy of the same rights they were. I can only say I think Loyalists and indeed Unionists, politicians and all, side with Israel and the ‘whites’ because they are forcing the same on the ‘underdog’ so to speak.

    As always racism and bigotry are rife in the Loyalist culture, yes culture, and as far as I can see it will be very hard to stamp out. Oh wait, we can’t stamp it out, its culture.

  3. Norma wilson August 17, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

    When I was ‘Educated’ as a child in a catholic school in Ireland, hatred of the Jews was ingrained in us by religion teachers. They were always portrayed as mean and the ones who crucified Jesus. Teachers would call children that didn’t put money in the collections jewmen. Many people who may no longer subscribe to the catholic church still have that hatred in them without realising it. When I became a Christian many years later I read The Bible and found that God has much love for the Jewish people, and we as Christians are NOT the replacement of God’s promises, but just a like a wild vine that has been ingrafted into an already healthy vine, in other words, the Jewish people are the healthy vine, and we as followers of Christ are just a wild piece of vine the vinedresser has grafted in. I Now love the Jewish people, God’s chosen people, and have spent many great times with them in Antwerp, Hungary and America. I As an Irishman, famous as the tallest man in Ireland, wish to apologise and I sincerely repent for my ever making anti-Semitic jokes, hating Israel or Jewish people before I became a Christian at the age of 29 and hope you can forgive me Brothers and Sisters. I Sincerely love you and when I am no longer bedridden as I am unfortunately now, I will proudly cover my wheelchair with Love Israel stickers

    This might answer your questions, the source, is Israel Ambassador on twitter.
    Apart from this Mary whom you pray to, will I am sure be quite shocked, at the RC’s in their attitude to her people.
    If you do not believe in Gods word in the Bible, then this also explains why you’s support foreign terrorists, I will not call it by P——– or recognize its flag.
    I never had a maid in SA I never was comfortable with apartied!
    During the CRA I was 13/14 years of age too young to be involved with politics, if I had been older, I would have joined it, but when the PIRA made its appearance I would have left pronto.
    My culture is made up from the British Isles, which has the best culture in the world.
    We are all getting on, in age, just in case any of you should have dickie hearts, the Jews invented the stent, please do not have one inserted if you are anti-Semitic ?

    I feel there is only one true religion of this world, and you know who I think this is?
    I know none of you will answer this question, why did Mary appear in all those places, knock, Lourdes, etc….
    Why would she appear to you’s ???
    I am a Protestant because, quite simply the church was fleecing us, by telling such things like, pay extra, and you will be guaranteed getting into heaven, well the rest is history, funnily enough it was a good German Martin Luther, who coincidently came from the country who wanted to exterminate the Jews, but thank G-d he was a mad bad RC, though he was Austrian.
    My sister in law is Austrian and RC who lives in RSA, she has no bother at all having maids, I just could never get used to it!
    When black people called me Madam, I just Madamed them right back.
    Jews, they went into a dessert, and made a brilliant country! Afrikaners, went into the interior, and made a brilliant country, the PROTESTANTS, did just about the same, in the prosperous North.
    Catholics really tried to ethnic cleanse us when you think about it, fall in love with a RC the church says TURN, and all children to be brought up in the faith?
    My great grandmother came from Emmevale, in Monaghan, and in 1922, arrived in Belfast with nothing, pogram or what!
    This very day, my mother in law, wishes for the troubles to return, because there was no foreigners then? I suppose at 88, you can excuse her, she is a devout pious RC.
    So please Jude and Michael take the plank out of your eye, and stop departmentlising situations, maybe the Romanians, and Polish people only live in the PUL areas.
    To all my friends, still supporting the Jews, quite simply because they are good people, who have suffered enough through the ages.
    I have no need for people in my life that decapitate, cut of hands, stone people to death, and still not a word from any of you’s about the Christians in Iraq, or Syria, shame on you Hypocrites.
    I wonder how many of you’s, have in your procession tickets for George Galloway on Sat 23rd.

    • Ceannaire August 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

      Sorry to hear that you were ‘ingrained’ with a hatred of Jews. I attended Christian Brothers’ schools throughout my whole education and never once – not once ever – was I ever told to hate anyone, never mind have in ‘ingrained’.

      I support the Palestinians, in the sense that they deserve a homeland and certainly don’t deserve to be obliterated. That does not make me anti-Semitic nor pro Islam. It just makes you look foolish in your constant assumptions.

      I was brought up as a Catholic – but I am not a practicing one (too many contradictions for my liking) but, Norma – that final part from the “Jude/Michael” part just oozes disgust. A few examples:

      “this Mary whom you pray to” – there are more pleasant ways of phrasing that. You chose not to.

      ” why you’s support foreign terrorists” – please find ONE post on Jude’s forums which proves such.

      “a good German Martin Luther, who coincidently came from the country who wanted to exterminate the Jews, but thank G-d he was a mad bad RC, though he was Austrian.” – Yes Norma, we know Hitler was born a Catholic but he was anti religion and looked at it all as lies and deceit. Oh – and you inference that only a Catholic would be like that!

      “Catholics really tried to ethnic cleanse us” – Those pesky Catholics again. Isn’t it amazing that Protestants never do wrong – or Jews – or Afrikaners.

      “This very day, my mother in law, wishes for the troubles to return…I suppose at 88, you can excuse her, she is a devout pious RC.” – These Catholics really are violent types, aren’t they Norma?

      There is more things I could point out about what you wrote but what’s the point? You aren’t listening. You claim to be Christian yet show none of its attributes.

      You don’t have a plank of wood in your eye – it’s a damned forest.

  4. paddykool August 18, 2014 at 9:10 am #

    That’s what I’m asking here Norma .I want to hear a few answers and why people do the things they do . We may as well start with your dear mother -in -law and ask you the questions. .Well …it’ll get things started.You say your mother-in-law is a pious Roman Catholic woman but then you go on to say she hated foreigners. you see that’s the question right there . I want to hear what happened to her that made her simply hate foreigners.I’ll tell you why.I had an equally pious mother whose policy was to live and let live and who gladly sucked up the culture of other nationalities and engaged with every sort with pleasure. That is how my own value system was formed ,in part. The pious religious bit wouldn’t stick but the morality certainly did. So what was making your mother-in-law do the opposite? That is what is being asked. The answer would be more interesting and give us all a bit of insight , wouldn’t it?
    I think we’ve established too that nobody on this blog has ever said they hated Jewish people. They don’t. They don’t hate Muslim people either. ..They may not like what certain Jewish people or Muslim people do but that’s another question.It’s like saying we hate Christians.We don’t .We just think that some of them have got things spectaculary wrong and are talking out of their hats.We’ve got plenty of them in Ireland ..i’m sure you would agree.
    Nobody with any wit or intelligence wants to see a mad grouping of any kind trying to turn the clock back to some black and white situation where they can dictate how we all think…how we all live…how we all eat…how we all should pray or whatever . It’s immaterial to me whether those enforcing that kind of bullshit are Jews, Creationists, Christians or Muslims..To my mind that all has to be opposed. That’s back to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot…it’s back to barbarity . It’s back to Year Zero….I’ve no doubt that the majority will oppose it with gusto.
    The actions of Christian churches in Ireland has been fought in this past generation so that the Catholic church has lost a lot of its social clout here. Simply put there is now better communication and education and people are beginning to live more secular lives.That took from the 1950’s until now to achieve. but there have been many changes and exposes in that time. lots of sex scandals, paedophilia..priests with lovers ….it all made people think a little clearer.It’s made them a little cynical.
    That’s one thing .People can choose for themselves what to believe. We still have some strange ideas in Northern ireland too though….including the errant fantasy of Creationism right in the heart of government. Really..we should be giving that one a good seeing -to .Now …that has nothing to do with foreigners but that is really dangerous nonsense.
    Now , I’ll agree that people easily disparaged other cultures they maybe feared .There was slang when we were children .You’d hear things like …”ach you’er an ould Jew , you wouldn’t spend sixpence , you’re so tight!”…Stuff like that tripped off children’s tongues without any irony…right?We all know that. it was the same when we played games or read comics .The culture was that the Germans were the bad guys ..the Japanese were the bad guys…. Fun was poked at Italians . They had been the foes in the recently passed World War after all. People were very insular too. I can remember a time when whole tranches of people would not buy Japanese cars because of what they did during World War Two. It took a long time before the Germans and the Japanese were, to use the current expression …”house-trained”. Nobody has had a problem with our Italian immigrants fish and chips and ice cream for many years .We took to their cafe culture in droves.
    We were brought up on comics full of buck -toothed Japanese soldiers screaming “Banzai” at Captain Hurricane …or “You dirty hun!” at some helmeted German soldier.Our playground games were full of that. That’s children ….with their dirty little doggerels abot Popeye the Sailorman and the like…..Children usually grow out of all that though. Do you remember the expression …”We’re going to the flicks?”..Say that to a child now and they’ll ask you what the hell you are talking about .When was the last time you heard cinema being referred to as” the flicks ” ?
    Language changes ..people change.
    The other thing you touch on is that the Planters go into a country and turn it into a prosperous land of milk and honey. There’s no denying that a land is cultivated by immigrants coming in.You might ask then what is the problem with immigrants coming into any country …our own little Ireland included? They are going to bring new ideas …new foods …new ways of thinking…They’ll enrich a culture in many ways …
    With a Planter though ‘. the thing is the country you are planted in is not yours to do anything with at base .It has been taken. it is stolen land . it has been colonised. You are forcing yourself into a country that is not yours.You haven’t been invited .What happened to “thou shalt not kill?”What happened to “Thou shalt not steal?”…. Well all those rules and commandments get thrown out when the human greed comes in .It’s not much different from someone walking through your front door and setting up home. People will not like it !
    The “white” race was really good at this sort of thing .They were possibly greedier and hungrier than other races of humans …maybe something to do with the climate they lived in … and they travelled huge distances in their quest….across the planet….They took Australia and America and drove the people back into the worst lands . These were usually “Christian ” people doing this . Followers , supposedly of a peace-loving jewish man called Jesus who had some radical ideas . How did they manage to believe in his ideas and still overrun several countries. They also tried to “convert” people who had their own beliefs already .They tried to turn them into Christians even though the people were perfectly happy already. These weren’t Muslims bearing down on the indigenous people….these were good upright “Christians”. ..burning heretics in the fire . Does that sound familiar to your fears of extreme Muslims?.

  5. Norma wilson August 18, 2014 at 2:15 pm #


    I answered Jude’s blog, he was making comparisons? I ran it past my husband because he was present yesterday when his Mother stated, she would like to go back to the troubles, when there was no foreigners in the country?
    I have never ever been prompted or indoctrinated, by any of my late parents.
    I have never flown a flag, purchased a flag, or been in procession of a flag, however, I am in the process of going to the N’townards Rd to buy an Israel flag.
    I explained at the start of my blog, the piece was copied and pasted, and revealed my source.
    PK I gather from reading your blogs, you are a bohemian arty farty laid back easy going type of a man.
    I normally don’t get that passionate about politics, Northern Ireland has to be the most boring place in the world, magic round about stuff.
    But I am passionate and pro Jew. I am disgusted at the anti-semitism shown here in this country, and I am sorry, but I do think the reason the Catholics are this way, is nothing to do with Palestine, it is because they are threatened, by a true religion, we Protestants, would still be Catholics, if the church had have listened, instead if burning us, and calling us heretics, and look again at the Spanish Inquisition, or the crusades the pope sent to Jerusalem.

    I won’t change my stance, if I could get my husband and myself to convert I would, I have made enquiries, he needs to get circumcised, and it is something he won’t even consider? We would have 632 laws to learn, and give up Christmas etc etc.
    I also believe in ying and yang. You are either good or evil, I have made my choice, I am with Israel, any one who knows me, knows, if I were male, and thirty years younger, I would be in the IDF fighting.
    So there you have it, we are different we think differently,
    I am all for diversity, and experiencing change, but when one race of people want complete annihilation of the Jewish people, after they suffered under the hands of the nazis, then I say, stand up stand up and put these drags if humanity down.
    Sadly we do not have any great world leaders, they are all spineless gigs in the manger.
    Not one of you as yet has managed to answer my question, why does Mary only appear to Catholics, why why why????

  6. paddykool August 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm #

    I’m not sure how I feel about being described as an artsy fartsy easy going type….but I get your drift .You might discover that us artsy fartsy types are anything but easy though!

    It’s not really relevant to me whether anyone reports visions of Mary .The mind is capable of anything even visions .As for real antisemitism in Ireland , I can’t say I’ve ever come across any anywhere and I’m here awhile.There’s really enough mad hate and haters here already without adding another layer.As for taking on a religion, the Tarot or the I-Ching, I’m afraid you can count me out of any of it.There’s enough for me to deal with in this world already…..just right outside my front door….lovely!

  7. Gerry McDermott August 22, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    The Israeli people (i wont refer to them as Jews) have a lot in common with the Irish nationalist people,in that both have extremely bad experiences with the British,in fact the first Israeli freedom fighters against the British occupation of Palestine,modeled themselves on the heroic Irish independence war IRA. The idea that Israel equates to the situation here,has been successfully fostered by extremist Unionism,to such an extent that some Israelis now believe it,however this desperate ploy,is now been exposed,and the truth told,by the Irish nationalist community at international level (A few flags flying around the ghettos,is irrelevant).

  8. Seán McGouran September 2, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

    There was (and really still isn’t)such a thing as a ‘Southern Nationalist’, Irish Nationalists / Republicans (or whatever you’re having yourself), surface in all thirty two counties from Innisvickulain to Rathlin.
    There are, now, what one might call 26 County chauvinists, Eoghan Harris and Ruth Dudley Edwards to the fore. RDE (like most good chauvinists doesn’t live anywhere in Ireland, and seems to think objecting to the constitutionally anti-RC Orange Order disturbing one’s sleeping patterns is ‘sectarian’, even a form of racism).
    The next time Britain First, the NF, BNP or other anti-‘Bog Wog’ organisation wants to march down her street, maybe she should be ‘reasonable’. After all, they are usually one-offs, the OO, RBP, Apprentice Boys – and others – have hundreds of marches from June to September, (& Remembrance Day ceremonies are normally Taig-free. That is despite the fact that the personnel of the ‘Murmansk Run’ were Somalis or Taigs from Belfast’s Sailortown. And, of course, ‘Northern Ireland’s’ one WW2 VC was won by Jim Meginess from the Falls Road), He migrated to Sheffield. When the local council discovered they had a resident War Hero, the gave him the Freedom of the City, and a commemorative plaque on their War Memorial.

    • Jude Collins September 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

      Sean – I agree northern/southern can be carried to the point of partitionism but I’d still want to distinguish between a nationalist living in the 26 counties as distinct from one in the north. They have different challenges as well as common challenges.