Monday 18 December 2017

Ignoring the simple truths about Britain and the 1916 Rising

Home Rule advocate, John Redmond. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Home Rule advocate, John Redmond. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Pierce Martin (Irish Independent, January 18, 2016) repeats the same handful of arguments about 1916 in his quest to see it banished, like Carthage, from the national consciousness. First he describes 1916 UK as a 'liberal democracy' - even though all women and men below certain wealth levels were excluded.

He is also obliged to ignore the reality that there was no explicit mandate for the UK government in 1914 to take this country into war, or for an unelected cabinet in 1915 to continue it. By contrast, the Easter Proclamation sought to include women politically in the new vision for Ireland.

As for the 'blood sacrifice', the 1916 rebels were simply speaking the same language shouted across contemporary Europe. It's no accident the term 'jingoism' (meaning an appetite for war) was coined in Britain at the outbreak of World War One. How else to describe the almost mindless marching of hundreds of thousands of men into the mouth of enemy machine guns, except as 'blood sacrifice'?

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