Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Violent traditions

Looking at the pictures of the riots in Belfast over the last few days I can't help but think that there is a certain section of the community there that's lived with violence for so long that, like an addiction, they can't actually shake it off. Northern Ireland is a complex problem, different communities with different religions and cultures smashed together in the 17th & 18th centuries in order to benefit a minority of wealthy people. Poverty, ignorance, inequality and bigotry all contributed to a vicious downward spiral of sectarian violence and years of bitter conflict.

However it's easy to hide behind the past, the traditions, the dogma, we shouldn't forget that there are other post colonial countries where all these factors were also present but those societies didn't go down the same path as Ulster. Do the people of NI want to become the Lebanon of Northern Europe, a dirty run down corner of the continent that looks back at it through razor wire, I seriously doubt that. The leaders of that country need to urgently show some backbone now, ditch the inflammatory BS of the past and look to the future, because that's where the rest of us are headed.


Elizabeth said...

I didn't hear about the riots in Belfast. Thanks for the information. I haven't been keeping up with this blog like I should 'cause I've been on vacation.

Steve Borthwick said...

E, I've been following your travels on your blog, looks like you're having a thoroughly "cultural" time (must be nice to do that with older kids; I'm still into wall to wall water parks et al)