Some Interesting Reading

A hopeful UK take on the aftermath of Katrina, or Social Darwinism gets the bird (I particularly appreciate the wide-ranging opinion that a Socially Darwinian State is not civilized):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4230372.stm

In other news, here’s some “civil unrest” in Ireland. For a brief background on the situation:


Ireland is split into two parts — the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland, and the 6 counties of Northern Ireland that are still British holdings because back in the 1920’s they were where all the industry and money was, and Britian refused to give them up when the other 26 poor counties negotiated their independance. Since then there has been a lot of violent activity (mostly perpetrated by the IRA, and falling under the rubric of terrorism) nominally to attempt to free the 6 from British rule and reunify with the Republic, but also heavily associated with poverty, disenfranchisement and lack of development in mostly catholic Nationalist areas. Several years ago, Clinton brokered the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, which was meant to change the battlefield from the streets of Belfast to the political arena. It has been somewhat successful.

A few months ago Sinn Fein (the “republican” party, which means they are the party that most strongly supports reunification with the Republic of Ireland. They are also acknowledged as the political arm of the IRA) won a strong majority of the seats and position in the Northern Ireland provisional government. This made those in the “loyalist” parties (those who remain loyal to Great Britain, most especially the Orange Party or the Orangemen) very unhappy. Shortly thereafter, Sinn Fein announced that they would be fully disarming, and have been doing so since (disarmament has been one of the key issues in the past several years, so important that the provisional government has been revoked and remitted to Britain several times because of Orange accusations that disarmament wasn’t happening fast enough).

A few weeks ago, the Orangemen submitted the route for a parade they were going to be having, and were told that the route would need to be diverted by 100 yards because they had planned it to go through a heavily nationalist (read: want to rejoin the Republic) neighborhood without clearing it with the residents, and the government was concerned that this could lead to civil unrest (in fact, there were accusations at the time that the Orangemen’s parade route was an attempt to provoke civil unrest).

Three days ago, the Orange Party held their parade, when they got to the point in the route where the change had been made, there was a confrontation at the barriers, and then the Orangemen pulled out pipe-bombs, firebombs and other homemade incendiary devises (indicating premeditation on their part) and the riots began. They have been going on for three days now.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4238442.stm

In affiliated news, this is just funny (from The Irish Independant, which requires log-in, so I’m just posting it here):

The Democratic Unionist Party has launched a scathing verbal attack on US President George W Bush’s special envoy to Ireland over his criticism of unionist politicians.

Mitchell Reiss has accused unionists of failing to show leadership during violent loyalist riots in Belfast and surrounding areas over the weekend.

The DUP’s Nigel Dodds responded today by accusing Mr Reiss of making one of the most unhelpful, negative and damaging contributions he had ever heard.

He described the US politician’s comments as “crass” and said he no longer had any credibility among unionists.

Well, I’m off. Hope this was fun for all.

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3 thoughts on “Some Interesting Reading

  1. Damn. I’d hoped Sinn Fein’s desperate distancing of themselves from terrorism in the wake of the London bombings would help nail shut the coffin of the Irish problem. But there’s always marching season, and idiots with pipe bombs…

    • Well, but the interesting thing about this is that it’s *not* Sinn Fein or the Republicans, it’s the British Loyalists. Which neatly turns on its head one of the major British prejudices against Northern Irish independance (that it would be giving into terrorist pressures from pro-republican paramilitary groups and that it would be a betrayal of peaceful, law-abiding loyalists). I’m in no way happy about this, but since a lot of anti-republican rhetoric has been based around what the nationalists had to do to get a voice in N. Irish politics, I am rather interested in seeing how loyalists are now responding in very similar ways to the redressment.

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