Monday, January 29, 2007

Northern Ireland

Lots of stuff going on in the world this week, but this one caught my eye:

Sinn Fien Endorses Plan For Ulster Police Reform

Northern Ireland, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, has been in a state of conflict for a very long time, it was partitioned from Ireland in the beginning of the 20th Century. The population is divided between those who consider themselves British (Protestant) and those who consider themselves Irish (Catholic).
The Irish Unionists want Northern Ireland to be part of the Republic of Ireland, and the British Loyalists to either accept it or go back to England. The British Loyalists want to stay citizens of Great Britain, but don't want to leave what have been their homes for generations. This has led to bitter political disagreement and plenty of violence from both sides.

While there is still violence, it has declined, and the most prominent figures on the Catholic side have begun to speak in terms of working from within the system and establishing a peaceful compromise. While agreement is not totally unanimous, it's a step.

The latest development has come when the Catholic party known as Sinn Fein came out as officially backing a reform of the Ulster Police Department. For a long time the Irish have been at odds with the British-staffed police department. Now they are taking steps to work with them to make sure that Catholic and Protestants are represented proportionally on the force (the population is split almost half-and-half, with slightly more Protestants living in the territory in question).

It's a complicated situation, with tempers and grudges flaring on both sides, but it would be good to see Northern Ireland establish it's goal of peace with justice for all of its citizens whatever their ancestry.

It would do well for Ireland, which has long been a bastion of art and learning for Europe (see Thomas Cahill's excellent How the Irish Saved Civilization for more on that) to stand as an example of how to finally end the cycle of terrorism and oppression caused by ideological divides.
It may be a bit naive and very idealistic to think it may someday come about, but stranger things have happened, especially in Ireland


E M F said...

Mangling your first sentence into two... still a little passive.

For those of you unfamiliar with Northern Ireland, it has been in a state of conflict for a very long time. It was partitioned from Ireland in the beginning of the 20th century.

There is an "it's" where there ought to be an "its", too. ;D

Matt DeBlass said...

I hang my head in shame. :-(

It's (it is) Monday morning, after all.