The IRA’s shame.

Being part Irish, I try to keep up on what’s going on in Ireland. Right now, Queen Elizabeth of England is on a state visit to Ireland. She’s laid a wreath at the monument to the Irish who died fighting against English rule and planted a tree in a garden in Dublin dedicated to peace in that island nation. From early reports, it seems that more than a few Irish are quite happy to have her visit. That is not, however, a universal sentiment.

In the run-up to her visit, several IED’s were found scatted around Ireland, all of them linked to a group trying to ‘bring back the armed struggle for freedom’. Many of the members of this group are former IRA members who are dissatisfied with the current peace process. As to why they’re dissatisfied, I do not claim to know, but I would be willing to hazard a few guesses.

When English rule or ‘the North’ was at it’s worst, the IRA were heroes to most Nationalist for their actions against a government that was aimed very much at keeping them ‘in their places’. They were seen as ‘striking a blow’ for all the people who could do little to nothing to change things on the ground. Later, as the IRA began to move more towards bombings and other acts of more indiscriminate terror, those same people began to have doubts. Since the Good Friday Accord came into being, many people, on all sides of the Northern Ireland political scene, have begun to see that the time for violence has passed, that it’s time to find a way forward together. The main terror groups, both the groups sharing the IRA’s views and those who had fought against them, turned in and/or destroyed their arms and began to try to move back into society. By all accounts, while it hasn’t been an easy transition, it has been happening. The local government has come to reflect the make up of the community it represents, and the various parties have managed to work together to keep it that way.

And therein lies the rub.

When “The Troubles” were on, the people who were fighting were heroes, but now, no one cares. They’re having to accommodate The Others, the people they once fought against. Worst of all, the world they knew is changing. The comfortable old hates are no longer accepted. The “us versus them” split that once defined their world is disappearing. In other words, they’re in danger of becoming footnotes in history.

So, they lash out and try to bring the world they once knew back. No ‘peace’ with “The Enemy”. No fading away into obscurity. No more being ignored.

People like this are the worst cowards. That’s because what they fear is the future, a future that they don’t understand and will do everything they can to stop from happening. The saddest thing of it all is, the harder they struggle, the more violent they become, the more they’re likely to end up being despised by the very people who’s adoration they hope to regain. It’s what happens to people who try to ignore the future, they just become sad relics of a past no one want to remember.


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