Dear Idiots, Stop, Please, Just Stop Commenting On Irish Affairs

The Inquisitr is an Israeli-American news aggregation website (or more honestly, a user-submitted group blog) and based on a recent feature article by The Atlantic examining the aims of ISIS/ISIL, which includes an entirely delusional reference to the 1969-2005 “Catholic” insurgency of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army and its apparent war to reunite the “Catholic brethren” of Ireland , we have a report which offers us more of the same:

“Take the IRA. It was previously argued that the IRA and Isis are comparable, because both are religious organisations. However, the IRA had a clear political goal — the ejection of the British from Northern Ireland. The organisation fanned feelings of Catholic nationalism insofar as it aided them in achieving this, and the violence they committed was committed with the aim of achieving one, tangible outcome.

So while both used religious fervor to fan enthusiasm and gain supporters, the IRA had modest aims compared to the juggernaut that is ISIS.”

Which leaves me wondering. Are there any real journalists left anywhere in the world? Or has the fucking internet killed them all?

(Yes, I am aware of the irony here.)

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7 comments

  1. Yes, I read that too, ‘stupid American, got the wrong end of the stick!’ Nothing unusual there then.

    But whether or not religion as such is significant any more, the fact remains that the two factions at war in Ireland use the protestant and Roman Catholic religions as their cultural badges. And historically does it not all go back to the religious wars around the establishment of a protestant monarchy in the UK? Are not the majority of citizens of the Republic along with most republicans in the North, at least nominally RC? Are not most of the Loyalists, along with most of the UK’s mainland populations at least nominally protestant?

    Anyway the point he was making was that the IRA and the various ‘loyalist’ factions all had limited political and territorial ambitions, and hence were amenable in the long run to talks. The contrast was with ISIS and similar groups with unlimited aims, like the ‘world revolution’ of communism etc. Or indeed the world domination of Western Capitalism which has pretty much succeeded.

    So not really all that far off the mark. And after all he was a myopic American 🙂

    1. RC and Protestant may be crude short-hand, but they are understood as that, which restricts their use in discussions, reports, etc. To talk of (P)IRA using “…religious fervor to fan enthusiasm and gain supporters” is madness. The majority of the British army is Protestant, the Church of England is the de facto state religion of the United Kingdom, the head of state is a sectarian position that excludes RC candidates, yet would we describe the UK armed forces as using “religious fervor to fan enthusiasm”? It’s so ridiculous, so obviously untrue that you have to wonder how stupid people, or journalists, or bloggers, or analysts could be. Have these people never heard of Google?

      I am no expert on the things I write about but those I do feature here I’ve usually have some previous or long-standing interest in. When I write about the Kurds it’s because I’ve been interested in the subject for years, and have friends who work for Kurdish unity and rights in Turkey. I would never just sit down and simply blast something off without looking into first. Yet that seems to be the norm on many of these news sites. Worse are the “experts” who twist facts to suit some predetermined argument they are making.

      Hands up, I’m as partisan as the next man. Or blogger. I view the world through my own prism. However at least I make some effort to understand the things I pontificate about.

  2. The Irish threw away their own language so easily, because their religion not their language was at the centre of their identity. They thought that to differentiate themselves from the Brits they didn’t have to speak their own language – believing in a slightly different version of Christianity was enough.

    1. But now, with increasing secularism, what have they got left to distinguish them from the wider anglophone culture?

      A language acts as a vessel, a container, for its culture. It shouldn’t be too tightly sealed from the outside, but is nevertheless a kind of semi-permeable barrier; ideas and fashions can diffuse in, but only gradually and partially. But when the vessel is smashed the culture is blown to the four winds.

    2. Agreed, to a point.
      There’s been a fairly significant minority on this Island for the last 1000 or so years that hasn’t had Irish as their primary language.
      Also, “the Irish” didn’t throw it away easily. It took about 300 years of all kinds of pressure, up to and including ethnic cleansing.

    3. Douglas Hyde, Eoin McNeill and a few hundred thousands of others in the Gaelic League in Ireland and Amerikay would disagree with you vehemently. that “religion, not language” was at the center of their identity.

  3. “The Irish threw away their own language so easily, because their religion not their language was at the centre of their identity. They thought that to differentiate themselves from the Brits they didn’t have to speak their own language – believing in a slightly different version of Christianity was enough.”

    Oooh, that comment will certainly get a reaction Seamus, I mean Jānis.

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