‘Seeing Beyond 1916’ By Randall Stephen Hall

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Song attachment “The Green and Blue”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-P7AljltBw

 

I grew up in North Belfast during the Troubles.

I was about 11 when the Troubles broke out in 1969.

From then until now I’ve learned and seen many things

living in Northern Ireland and reaching the age of 58.

 

The divided nature of our community only benefits

a small number of people, who continue to maintain

their own position within their own groupings, amongst us.

Within politics, the church, business and even within education.

 

For me it is that utter selfishness that drives everything here

It make this sense of division endure.

 

That is why I wrote this song “The Green and Blue”.

From the point of view of an individual outsider.

 

It isn’t a song about Victorian and Edwardian Irish nationalism.

 

It’s a song about seeing beyond that. It looks over the walls

of division. Looks past the desire to “beat” your enemy. It looks

forward to making something new with the help of “your enemy”.

 

For the benefit of both and for all our children.

 

It sees over a misguided sense of cultural superiority.

 

. . . And on a day when some of us celebrate the 1916 Easter Rising I can see and understand the personal sense of emotion. The tug of Imagined, collected, identity.

Yet for many, the un-informed security blanket of belonging, without any real thought, to this event (the lazy, fast food approach), leaves me ambivalent.

For any state, born out of conflict, who merely replaces one empire elite for another religious elite, (automatically creating another in the north) is a state, which can only learn now, what a terribly divisive mistake that was.

The Irish writer Yeats certainly found it so and suffered greatly for speaking openly about it.

As Easter Sunday progresses and we celebrate, think on or just avoid 1916, at least it can potentially give us a sense of perspective. If only for those blessed with any sense of curiosity or imagination.

Happy Easter. (A possible contradiction in terms.)

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3 Responses to ‘Seeing Beyond 1916’ By Randall Stephen Hall

  1. Donal Kennedy March 27, 2016 at 2:22 pm #

    What exactly did Yeats suffer? He was not shot or hanged or imprisoned or starved. He was not treated as a secondclass citizen – indeed he was made a Senator, he was given the Nobel
    Prize on the nomination of Desmond Fitzgerald. Perhaps had he known that Fitzgerald had
    first asked Joyce if he wanted it might have put his nose out of joint. His Theatre was subsidized by the Irish State – the first such theatre in the world?
    He made an idiot of himself when he claimed in the Senate to speak for Protestants on the
    introduction of the ban on divorce. For he had renounced Christianity of any hue and dabbled in wacky ideas.

  2. Brian Patterson March 28, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    The real “contradiction in terms” is RSH’s reference to “Victorian and Edwardian Irish Nationalism.” I have always been bemused and a little annoyed by the architecture,literature, art and even technology of a particular era being arbitrarily defined by an unelected, talentless and generally worthless individual. I have even heard British commentators referring to American ‘Victorian’ buildings. But RSH breaks new ground with ‘Victorian and Edwardian Irish Nationalism’. Respect!

  3. Patrick Fahy March 28, 2016 at 10:31 am #

    RS H , whether consciously or not misstates history. No one denies that out ofthe War of Independence there emerged a confessional 26 county state. But that did not ‘ automatically create’ a similar Northern state. The British government had already done that with the Government of Ireland Act of 1920. Thus, for reasons only of political opportunism, the sectarianism which even to day blights us was institutionalized with the creation of the two new states. There can be no solution which does not reverse this imperialist ‘divide and conquer’ enterprise.