On being the same and different

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It’s funny (that’s funny-peculiar, although I suppose there are funny-ha-ha things as well, some intended, some not) what you see on TV. I was watching the RTÉ news last night and the end bit – after Eileen or whatever the newscaster’s called  had said good night – there was a sequence of several minutes where we had clips, complete with suitably solemn music, about soldiers who had died at Gallipoli. As my friend John Patton  (http://phototilly.eu/) has pointed out,  the reason many of these men died was that Winston Churchill blundered them into their graves. There was no hint of any of that in the two-minute clip on RTÉ. All soldiers lined up, solemn voice-over, memorial plaques. You get the idea. They weren’t saying it was great these men died but it was saying that this was a solemn event of national significance and one worthy of being remembered with honour and respect.

Two days ago was the anniversary of the reading of the Easter Proclamation. Now I’m open to correction but I don’t recall very much attention being paid to that event. No solemn clips, no mournful but respectful music, no lines of soldiers standing at memorial plaques. Why was that?

Because, I believe, there are people in the south of Ireland who are intent on juxtaposing the battles of the First World War in which Irishmen died, with the Easter Rising in which other men died. “Nothing wrong with that” you may say. “They occurred around the same time”.  They did indeed. But they were different in nature. Almost contradictory, even. The men who died in the First World War did so as part of the British army and died for a lie – no, actually, two lies. The first was that this was a war to end all wars, and the second was that it was through this war that Ireland would gain Home Rule. The men who died as part of the Easter Rising, in contrast, were not in the uniform of the British army. They were in fact fighting against the British Army. They were not fighting for even half a lie :   their goal of Irish independence was clear and valid.

So what we have are two major events that run in opposite directions, and because of the sad fact that Irishmen died in both, the powers that be are intent on the public seeing them both as part of one largely similar pattern:  the unhappy death of Irishmen. Was there ever greater gobbledygook? Of course it’s sad that Irishmen died in violent conflict of any kind; but there is a qualitative difference between being duped into dying for a lie in the uniform of the army that keeps your own country subject to the next door neighbour, and dying for the cause of national independence. Whether you approve of the first and detest the second or vice versa is not the point. The point is that they were and remain in sharp contradiction to each other, and efforts to blur the lines between them are devious and despicable.

10 Responses to On being the same and different

  1. Mick Early April 26, 2015 at 1:58 pm #

    Well said Jude! The underhanded and despicable way out history is treated by theses shoneen hoors is just getting worse and worse. We are condemned to listen to people like Iohn Bruton treat our history like dirty laundry and disparage the brave Irish men and women who fought against terrible odds for their own country instead of a huge big lie told by fools like Churchill!

  2. Perkin Warbeck April 26, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    We have blue-chip examples of what things is the same but different down here in the Free Southern Stateen every 24 of the 7 , Esteem Blogmeister, where life truly is a Barnum and Bailey world. And where the emphasis is decidedly upon Freak Show Scenarios (FSS).

    And where the 3 Green Fields are chipper in a three-ring circus kinda way. Chipper meaning gay in the real sense of that word but also as a synonym for cheerful.

    Take for example, the blue-chip topic which has convulsed the Dublin media during the past week, or rather, the DOBlin media, as most of it is under the benign dictatorship of the capital’s most deep-pocketed plutocrat who dwells on the sunny side of Easy Street,.

    The not at all menacing Denis O’ Brien.

    Perhaps the topic might be more appropriately referred to as the cordon blue topic as the Bailey in B. and Barnum is pronounced the same as ‘beili’, the leprechaun for ‘meals’. And no media in this B and B world can quite make a meal of even the most meagre of menus like the DOBlin media.

    The topic being, of course, a nineteen year old nobody from Nowhere, UK by the name of (gulp) ……..Who He ? Ooops, Jack Grealish.

    While some elements of the media here are over the paper moon that the teen will preen in the green gansey of the Free Southern Stateen soccer,oops, football team, other modules of the same media are somewhat more sceptical. They consider he is but a cardboard Paddy who will declare his loyalty to the land of both his birth and his afterbirth.

    Eireland or Engerland? Spot the differ.

    The stakes are huge and massive (ham) like the key component in a ham sanger: should the lad Grealish declare for the ROI (as Roy is urging him to do) he will assuredly bump up their present standing in the World Rankings from a lowly 72 to the dizzy heights of, erm, 71.

    Happily, Perkie’s every helpful inner genial genealogist of the Google school of family trees can reveal that the boy Grealish can actually declare to goodness knows how many different countries or none. According to whichever Granny Smith rule is invoked. Meaning, whichever imperial manager is first to claim him as the.,erm, apple of his I, Claudius.

    For Grealish is a surname of Norman French origins derived from ye olde N.F. word ‘greslet’ which meant ‘pitted’ or ‘scarred’. And usually referred to those of a pock-marked face resulting from the latest epidemic of the plague.

    Which word itself in its time was derived from the German word ‘gresle’ meaning , erm, ‘hailstones’.

    Nevertheless, Perkie’s inner patronymic patriot, prefers to plump for the grand leprehhaun sound of Grealish which rhymes with two common or garden words in that low down lingua franca: meelish and deelish. Indicating, milis agus dilis / sweet and loyal, respectively.

    Take Arrah na Pogue a marvellous waxed-mustachioed melodrama set in the mountains of Wicklow during the 1798 Rebellion (now quietly airbrushed etc, see above in today’s esteemed blog)by the doyen of all decent dramatists from d’Emeral Isle Dion Boucicault, blue-chip genius..

    The melodrama’s eponymous (cf The Unionist Times word-store) heroine is Arrah Meelish and the drame itself It is crammed with cordon-blue quotes. Such as this one from Freeny, the process-server:

    ‘When a man thravels wid a big lump of money in his pocket,he is offering a reward for his own murdher’.

    And of course, this week’s topic du semaine / abhar na seachtiane will end up in the corner of he who has the, erm, deepest pockets (see above). Coming down as things usually do in the FSS to ‘big lumps of money’.

    To whom will the lad Grealish prove deelish
    Depends who sweet-talks him most meelish
    To be the Crown
    Or,the half crown?
    Watch this space and all will be….. revealish.

    Oh, and guess who bankrolls lowly Team Number 72 in the World Rankings ?

  3. Iolar April 26, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    The myth industry is in full swing in Dublin. World War 1 exhibitions abound. Pupils in schools are being encouraged to focus on events during the period 1914 – 1918. There is no question of school trips to Kilmainham Gaol. It would upset the children to see the spot where James Connolly was executed while sitting on a chair. What about an essay competition on partition? No, Gallipoli is more relevant. TV and radio commentaries remain devoid of any criticism of the political and military incompetence that led to mass slaughter during a war that was to end all wars. There are huge photographs on exhibit, of Irish priests on horseback, blessing soldiers as they prepare to take part in the first inter imperialist war, with God on their side. There is no reference to the many conscientious objectors prior to the carnage. Bertrand Russell said war does not determine who is right, only who is left.

    Woodrow Wilson posed the following question about World War 1,

    “Is there any man or woman let me say, is there any child who does not know that the seed of war in the modern world is industrial and commercial rivalry?”

    War journalist and critic Philip Knightley stated that the whole apparatus of the state went into action to suppress the truth about World War 1.

    In his book, Falsehood in War-time: Propaganda Lies of the First World War (1928), Ponsonby challenged the rationale for World War 1 and a myth that was created to persuade ordinary people to fight.

    Some challenged the myth in 1916. Many more will continue to challenge the myths as we approach, Sunday 24 April 2016

  4. Tom Cassidy April 26, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    Falsehoods are mentioned by you Jude (albeit when providing a reference). As you know well, the convention is to mark the anniversaries of the Easter Rising at Easter. Read this http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0405/692152-taoiseach-to-attend-easter-rising-event-in-dublin/
    which reports on this year’s event and this http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0420/609919-easter-rising/ for last year. I could go on and on and on. But I have proved my point. 1916 was commemorated by the State at the usual day set aside for it.

    • Jude Collins April 27, 2015 at 9:20 am #

      Indeed, Tom. And I repeat – the 99th anniversary of the seminal event which shaped the state is surely worth at least two minutes on the national broadcasting station. The fact that it wasn’t mentioned and next day there was full coverage of Gallipoli confirms the point I’m making : let’s make sure the Easter Rising doesn’t get too much attention, and let’s pile in there with lots of other anniversaries where Irishmen died fighting in British uniform for a lie X 2.

  5. fiosrach April 27, 2015 at 10:28 am #

    You must remember,Jude, that the 26 counties is only a Republic by virtue of political legerdemain by competing parties. It is, was and will be for who knows how long , a “Free State” with all this entails. It had “independence” thrust upon it and not in all cases welcomed. It would be fair to say that a large minority objected to having been extracted from Britain and would willingly go back. The conservative elements in 1923 put an end to this rebellion nonsense and all subversion was swept under the carpet.

  6. paul April 27, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    The great mystery of my life, why the Irish government and some of its people feel so ashamed of the events that started them on the road to independence. It boggles the mind to hear tale after tale of revisionist history. From John Bruton To Kenny, there is a sense of 1916 being airbrushed or even downplayed. They are more interested in having ‘royals’ attend than they are of celebrating the b irth of their nation. Very sad. Is this a case of 800 years of Stockholm syndrome? England has stated ‘it has no selfish interests in the North”. When has England EVER not held its own interests in Ireland tantamount? The men who gave their lives in 1916 were extraordinarily brave. They were not perfect, they had faults like we all do. What separates them from Irelands ‘leaders’ today is that they were givers. They dedicated and gave their lives for their country, unlike the takers today who think that Ireland exists for their use and their use only

    • Jude Collins April 27, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

      Cogently and accurately put, Paul. Maith thú!

      • John April 28, 2015 at 1:48 am #

        I’ll second that, re: Paul’s very well stated comment Jude. Also for your own most pertinent and very much to the point – and true, column regarding RTE. It’s just come into my mind that it wouldn’t be beyond imagination that Bruton isn’t very quietly employed in some role or other, at the ‘State Broadcaster’ – quietly oiling the wheels for an ‘all-inclusive’ (ie: mainstream, major Political Party – excluding Sinn Fein of course) ‘Commemoration’ next year. Airbrushed that would put ‘Vogue’ and such to shame.

        As regards Gallipoli – I was talking to a couple of close friends ‘back home’ over recent days. – Not a mention of Churchill’s role in the huge tragedy, loss of life, and all-round disaster – via the News Networks running their ‘Solemn Tributes’
        More airbrushing of History – and importantly, a chance lost over the water, for the younger Generation to think / conclude…”Who was this Churchill idiot?”

        Ex-Liberal turned Tory…Election looming….
        Half a million 18-24 year-old’s registered to vote during the final 24 hours possible last week…
        A media in the UK that’s very largely controlled by The Establishment.
        – And that includes RTE too. Very much.

  7. IrelandSaoirse April 27, 2015 at 9:56 pm #

    Well said Paul,my sentiments exactly,the 1916 rebels never got the Republic they fought for,
    what we have is a country still partitioned by a british act of parliament.
    We don’t have the Republican leadership to stand up for true Republican ideals,most of the dumbed down people are more interested in facebook,reality tv,british soaps etc to know or care about their own country and it’s still unfinished struggle for freedom from the british empire.
    There were only a few brave enough and selfless enough to put their lives on the line for freedom in 1916,I expect nothing from the FG blueshirts,they are basically west brit castle catholics.
    Our only hope now at present lies with SF,though I have a feeling that FF will do very well in the next general election,despite their mistakes they represent the ordinary people of the country,pity they won’t consider SF for coalition.