View Full Version : Northern Ireland

08-05-02, 21:47
Now, in the Herai thread we touched upon the subject of sectarian strife, in particular the conflict between Catholic and Protestant nations on the 16th, 17th century and later.

If you look at most of the so-called religious conflicts they're just the usual power play under some dogmatic/religious/sectarian pretext. Northern Ireland comes to mind. While being European myself I admit that I am pretty ignorant about this civil war (can we denote it as such?).

Are the motivations behind it just sectarian? Is it religious hatred? Any ideas or enlightenment? I hope it's not inappropriate to ask such a question.

We have some Irish members on board... :)

deborah gormley
09-05-02, 01:36
Not inappropriate at, in fact its a question all residents of this Island have asked and as yet theres no clear answer.Its a very complicated and complex question and depending on which section of our community you live, there's a possibility of recieving thousands of different answers, but I'll give it ago anyway.
Our situation here has been brought on by years of conflict between two main religions,Catholic and protestant, in the 1920's Home rule was offered to the whole of Ireland in which 32 counties consisted,26 of them where prodominately Catholic and the remaining 6 where prodominately Protestant, the 6 voted to stay part of England,and so this was carried out, since then the History of our land took a nasty turn, Catholics started to rebel against this rule, and the rest is trouble, since then the two religions have battled for power but now the Catholics have majority and the protestants are minority, and the battle has been fierce, both Catholics and Protestants now hold their religion close to their heart and wont let go. If your a Catholic in a Protestant area theirs a chance of serious damage being Inflicted on you just because of your religion, and vice versa, Which in turn causes more and more hatred between the both parties, so yes it is religious hatred and a need to belong to a certain domain.
There are hundreds of books and even movies made concerning both parties, but getting one that is protraying an even tone between the two is (I hate to admit) impossible, some one will be affended, and a real life interpretation is always wrong according to the Victor, because the deeds carried out to become victorious are nasty and frowned on by the rest of the world, I'm not an expert by no means and I'm sure no one could be. The circumstances and the History alone are so complex that their will always be strife in Nr.Ireland because of foreign Rule.
Don't know if that helped you any Thomas,and if you have any more questions,just post them and I'l try to keep my replys short, haha

09-05-02, 10:14
Thanks for your detailed answer, Deborah! I was vaguely aware of the historic background, but you proved my point that hatred is not only caused by different religious denomination, but also by division of power among the two groups (I hope my sentence makes sense).

How about daily life? Don't people mingle while working, in supermarkets, cinemas, wherever? Aren't there grassroot groups from both sides trying to foster mutual understanding and trust?

Thanks for being patient while I'm so curious. :)

deborah gormley
09-05-02, 15:31
Yes in normal daily life, at work ect; people mingle quite well, but in most working enviroments the subject of religion is taboo and a sackable effence, you can have a friend at work from the opposeing side for a long time and its very rare to speak of religion as it makes people very uneasy and suspicious of your motives, I worked with people of different Religions for a long time and no matter how friendly they are, they can become very protective at the slightest hint that you might inquire what thier beliefs are.
I myself have a good friend (from the opposeing religion) for eight years and we never had any reason to distrust each other, untill one day I had injured my arm and he offered to drive me to hospital and then home, on the journey home he asked me was he safe and I told him of course he was he was with me,then the next couple of questions has stayed with me ever since, "will your brothers beat me up" (I have six brothers), "will my car get burnt" and "can you realy tell what religion I am just by looking at me" these questions brought out a fear and distrust of my family that I could not believe, I reassured him the best way I could and on arrival to my home he was treated like a King, he came as a friend and left a better one, he was astounded as my familys reaction to him, he was thanked for takeing me to hospital and then home,I understood his concernes as I lived in an area renound for its violence and zero tolerance for his religion, this friend and I still meet up when ever hes back in Derry.

Ill be back soon with the answer to the second question. Duty calls haha.

deborah gormley
09-05-02, 17:01
This is only my version of mutual understanding and trust within my community.

The grassroots people, who are most effected by the troubles are the people who work and live in the communities, they do a difficult job in sometimes unbearable situations, and on occasion they get the credit for thier efforts and make a change in the community no matter how small that change is.The people of the area appreciate and validate thier efforts by attending meeting and discussing the matters at hand, its the elected members of parliment who are the problem, we have M.P's representing both sections of our community and they are supposed to speak for the people, and they do quite well, they speak and speak and continue to speak, but have a problem when it comes to lisening, They speak at each other, but not to each other, here lays the root of the nations curse.
Both sections will not give an inch(as the saying goes) for fear of looseing the battle or being considered weak by its own people.
Many attempts has been made to extinuish this factor, presidents from both countries(Ireland and England) have tryed and failed, even American presidents have tryed to intervine but to no avail, so we are left here in limbo, barely hanging onto so called peace and lisening to the rantings of our politicions as they peels strips off each other with verbal abuse,and personal attacts, so what chance have the people of this country, when even the religious divides are in parliment.

got a bit carried away there, thought I was writeing a book,lol.

09-05-02, 23:36
Deborah, thank you so much for sharing your experiences and views with us. I imagine it must be very hard at times to live under such conditions, but the story with your friend who brought you to hospital shows that there's reason for hope if both sides take a closer look at each other only to find out there aren't so many differences between them after all.

I have lived in the Middle East for many years and there encountered a lot of such conflicts. As a foreigner you are in contact with - as you wrote - opposing sides, hear their pleas and their reasoning, yet you feel completely helpless in view of their insurmountable differences. :(

deborah gormley
12-05-02, 01:49
Thomas to live here has its everyday stresses and strains just as with any where else.

The peace process has made a big difference to our lives, now when we go shopping your not too worried about Bombs going off beside you or getting arrested because you forgot to carry your drivers licence for I.D. The roads now are clear of stones broken bottles and burnt cars or buses, but the hatred is still in the air, the so called unforgiveable sins (the deaths) are still there, it will take more than a groupe of men (M.P's) sitting squabbling around a table to get us through this part of the journey, but someday we'll be there, and the trouble that we all live with today will be in the past.


12-05-02, 11:00
I hope so too, Debs! It's the people that make the difference, not the MPs.

deborah gormley
12-05-02, 16:52
Thanks larry-s, and your so right,
maybe Thomas and yourself should come over here and sort the M.P's out, you know, that would'nt be such a bad idea, at least it would give a fresh approach to our stalemate,

deborah gormley
13-05-02, 00:56
This I just have to tell you!

Today in Nr.Ireland at a Mc Donalds fast food drive threw, a "sign" has been the focus for the D.U.P. members (democratic unionist party). They saw it written on the road at the drive threw, "YEILD" was the sign, and this "YEILD" sign caused great distress to the members of the D.U.P. as this is a southern frase used to make motorists "Give way" at juction s, and they complained to the appropriate councils and the fast food outlet had to get out thier buckets of paint and remove the effending word.

Now thats what I call down right nit picking,but I just want to show the kind of people that have been elected by honest hard working protestants, to hold on to thier interests in this small nation, If how-ever I'm wrong in what I beleive please post here and let me know.


13-05-02, 02:08
Yield signs still exists in the states.

I agree it's a little childish.

deborah gormley
16-05-02, 01:44
I totally agree, childist and extremely silly

16-05-02, 13:57
Never underestimate the childishness of (nationalist) politicians. We have a long debate in one of the federal states here whether street and municipal signs should be bilingual or not. In the end the conservative governor got his way, ignoring even a verdict of the constitutional court. Talk about silly...

deborah gormley
17-05-02, 14:33
So its every where then, sack all the politicions and governers and bring in a good forum of muti national people and resolve all these issues:cool:

Thomas you didnt say what ruling was allowed?
Now you'v got me curious:happy:

17-05-02, 16:11
Hehe, you're right, Debs, I only told half of the story...

Well, there are a few minorities in Austria, and their ethnic rights are of course guaranteed in the constitution. They are for instance entitled to use their languages in front of courts or authorities; their children are entitled to education in their own language etc.

There was a very heated debate about street and communal signs in the 70s, some crypto-nationalists removed these bilingual signs and replaced them with panels that were only written in German. This particular Austrian province, Corinthia, is governed by the infamous Mr. Haider who is well known beyond Austrian borders for one thing or another, well, anyway, he decided to ignore a decision by the Constitutional Court that stipulated bilingual signs for communities inhabitated by a certain percentage of these minorities (it's 10%, but I'm not sure).

Two weeks ago he also ordered to replace all street signs that referred to neighbouring countries in their native language, so now directions to these countries are only given in German, officially to avoid "traffic confusion". Well, hm...

Let me ramble: while Europe is supposed "to grow together" (Euroland etc), it's evident that Europeans actually put more importance on the differences seperating them. While I'm generally in favor of European unity I believe that this "Europeanization" is perhaps pushed too hard or too fast, currently resulting in an unhealthy trend towards more conservative and nationalist political approaches (Austria, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy,...).

As for ethnic minorities: IMHO they are a benefit to each nation and culturally enriching (listen Japan!). Unfortunately there's a huge gap between civil liberties and ethnic rights printed in some constitution and the reality we live in.

18-05-02, 16:31
Mr. Haider certainly has acquired some "fame" during the past few years. Didn't he visit his friend Saddam Hussein recently?

Rightist tendencies...? Well, the pendulum swings to both sides.

01-06-03, 23:47
Now this is an old thread upon which I have just stumbled
I might as well admit to being of the opposite persuasion from Debs
Having said that, whilst I would not agree with everything she has said, I can not disagree with her sentiments which seem to me to be those of any sane sensible Northern Ireland citizen (of whatever persuasion)
We have a beautiful country over here with people who are, in essence, the salt of the earth (catholic and protestant alike)
I am an Ulster protestant. In my younger days I grew up with and played with only catholic children. It meant nothing to me. They were, and still are, my friends
I am fortunate not to live in an area (like Debs) where these issues are more pronounced. My friends are still (and always will be) from both religions.
Unfortunately there are areas where this is far from the truth
I agree with Debs that politicians are the cause of our problems, and not the solution
(trying not to get too deep here)