A LONG TIME AGO, IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY…
I was recently with my family in an Irish pub in Mallorca, on one of our annual holidays. The stout was flowing and the rebel tunes were blasting, when out of nowhere the most beautiful looking girl in the world pulled me up to dance to the Kesh Jig. Like the Galway Shawl, she wore no jewels but she was dressed in white with her hair tied up in two buns at each side and I, with my wavy locks and beard, caught the attention of the Glaswegian Bandsmen who informed the bar that “Obi Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia have arrived for the Ceile.” Of course it had the house in ruptures but it had me thinking that night of many an irony or parallel between this fair isle and the brilliant mind of George Lucas.
After all, we are a small nation bombarded by the most powerful Empire within all the galaxies ever yet known to man. We are a country just miles off an arsenal of nuclear weapons which could destroy the planet (the “Death-Star” known as Trident) with the push of a button. Under the heel of an entity built upon the savagery of Republics, just as Coruscant fell to the “divine rule” of unelected Sith. We are a country which has produced many Princess Leia’s and Padme Amidala’s, from the Rebel Countess to Mairead Farrell. And true to form, we have had many “leaders” who identify as our “allies” while conspiring with our foes (not to mention Mr. Redmond).
Just like in 1916, “A New Hope” emerged via a small band of rebels with few resources who initiated a chain of events which brought about the demise of the foremost world power, in the face of brunt militarism and sheer tyranny. India struck for independence soon after, and each colony began to overthrow the old order to start anew. There were sorrows and victories along the way, with heroes on all sides. Tales of unrequited love, from Grace Gifford to the Protestant women wedding in secret those dawning the rifles of the IRB/IRA. “Gallant Allies” across the world and allegiances held dear to the bitter end. History beat the drums slowly and played the Fife flowly, as the song opines.
Indeed, the relationship between Britain and Ireland has many commonalities and some obvious contrasts with the Star Wars phenomenon. There are key universal themes, and a battle between truth and love against the force of evil. Sometimes in my wildest moments, I now feel as though Jude and I, in a literary sense, are like Master Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, when they attempt to assassinate the Emperor and Darth Vader, in a bid to save the republic from the horrors of fascism. To inform as many people as possible and the Irish psyche generally, that we’re good enough in Ireland to take charge of our own destinies; To hire and fire the people who govern us. So where next in the saga?
Well, it was Churchill who once stated that the “genius inhabits the land, coming from all classes and creeds.” So as I look around and see many talented, educated young people from the Nationalist community, particularly in the professional world they now dominate, it begs the question – Who will be the “Luke Skywalker”, firing the end goal that terminates Britain’s dominance of this small island once and for all? Who will flex the muscle of the Diaspora and win the battle for hearts and minds at home and abroad? For he or she, whoever they are and wherever they may dwell, will forever be the Saviour of the Nation. We will raise their statue in pure gold and dawn their portrait in every homestead. For with Brexit looming, it’s becoming routinely clear to Irish people regarding the usurping role of Britain in their country that, in the words of Yoda, “at an end their rule is. And not short enough it was!”