Tuesday 13 November 2018

Dan O'Brien: 'With Brexit brewing, we need to curb our anti-unionist tribalism'

Brexit has opened a tribal Pandora's Box. In a time of polarisation this brings great danger, writes Dan O'Brien

Nobel Peace Prize laureates John Hume and David Trimble in 1998
Nobel Peace Prize laureates John Hume and David Trimble in 1998
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

The first duty of anyone who opposes tribalism is to call out their own side when it engages in tribalism. Because members of the English and unionist tribes have been guilty of serious and dangerous acts of tribalism towards 'us' in relation to Brexit does not mean that their words and deeds should be matched.

As John Hume knew and always demonstrated, meeting tribalism with tribalism is not just futile but dangerous. He did not rise to provocation. He always remained focused on de-escalation and reconciliation.

Hume's example has not been followed by my tribe - broadly speaking the Irish, nationalist tribe - in the latest chapter of strife between the two traditions on this island.

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