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Fri Aug 30, 2019, 09:00 AM

I am a child of the troubles

I am a child of the troubles in Northern Ireland. My earliest memory is sitting in the back of the No. 7 Bus and watching Woolworths blow up. I grew up in place that was violently riven because of borders, faith, politics and othering. The other side was the enemy. Even in middle class circles, wagons were circled and both communities lived separate lives, including walls and postcodes dividing us. It was situation normal to see soldiers at roadblocks throughout the city. Police with guns on every corner (nowhere else in the UK are policemen armed). When I first left the land of my birth and moved abroad, I found it very difficult to adjust to not being searched every time I entered a shop.

And then came the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement. Where the vast majority of people on the Ireland of Ireland agreed that peace was the new road map and power sharing was instigated. For the last 20 years, both communities are witness to closer integration than ever before (of course there is still a way to go – there are decades of hurt and bloodshed that need healed). Peace suits and no-one in their right mind wants a return to the dark days of the 70’s and 80’s.

HOWEVER

The Brexiteers do not give a flying fuck about the people of Ulster. They will see a hard border restored in breach of internal treaty obligations because they are such extremists when it comes to leaving the EU.

A hard border will reignite the troubles, make no mistake about it. For dissidents on the republican side any customs posts – be they at the actual border or 10 miles away – will be a target for violence. A bandit border will return. Tit of Tat will start. The only thing I cannot see this time round is the British Army on the streets, more like a UN peace keeping force.
I was a child of the troubles. This bollock’s has to stop now. The next generation should never be able to say ‘I was a child of the troubles’.

42 replies, 7345 views

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply I am a child of the troubles (Original post)
Soph0571 Aug 2019 OP
MaryMagdaline Aug 2019 #1
Mike 03 Aug 2019 #2
Celerity Aug 2019 #3
smirkymonkey Aug 2019 #4
mountain grammy Aug 2019 #5
FakeNoose Aug 2019 #6
Soph0571 Aug 2019 #9
Jokerman Aug 2019 #7
Soph0571 Aug 2019 #8
jmbar2 Aug 2019 #10
Mersky Aug 2019 #11
Historic NY Aug 2019 #12
GeorgeGist Aug 2019 #13
greatauntoftriplets Aug 2019 #14
H2O Man Aug 2019 #15
Javaman Aug 2019 #16
calimary Aug 2019 #17
Soph0571 Aug 2019 #19
calimary Aug 2019 #20
Soph0571 Aug 2019 #22
calimary Aug 2019 #30
deurbano Aug 2019 #18
Hekate Aug 2019 #21
alwaysinasnit Aug 2019 #23
Richard D Aug 2019 #24
keroro gunsou Aug 2019 #25
jrandom421 Aug 2019 #26
lapfog_1 Aug 2019 #27
mr_lebowski Aug 2019 #28
Soph0571 Aug 2019 #29
Karadeniz Aug 2019 #31
mitch96 Aug 2019 #32
ProudProgressiveNow Aug 2019 #33
underpants Aug 2019 #34
gopiscrap Aug 2019 #35
bucolic_frolic Aug 2019 #36
Soph0571 Aug 2019 #37
bucolic_frolic Aug 2019 #38
moniss Aug 2019 #39
Haggis for Breakfast Aug 2019 #40
moniss Sep 2019 #42
Myrddin Aug 2019 #41

Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 09:10 AM

1. K&R

Thank you Soph0571

For anyone who loves the Irish people(s) this is a big deal.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 09:19 AM

2. Thanks for sharing this.

I hope this post is read by everybody here.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 09:26 AM

3. The Plantation of Ulster, what an everlasting nightmare that set into motion

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 09:56 AM

4. K&R

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 09:56 AM

5. K & R

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 09:57 AM

6. A large percentage of Americans support the Irish cause

Some of us have ancestors from both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, as I do. I also have living relatives in Ireland whom I've never met. It seems this Brexit crap will not only make things miserable for the British middle class, it's going to mess up everything for the Irish people and the Scots who seem like they're ready to split off.

How far can this go before they finally see the stupidity of it?



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Response to FakeNoose (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 10:09 AM

9. They would rather see the Union disintegrate then give up!

They are loons

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 10:00 AM

7. Is there any chance for a united Ireland remaining in the EU?

Maybe the bigger question; Is it outside forces or internal forces keeping Ireland divided?

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Response to Jokerman (Reply #7)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 10:08 AM

8. If there is a border poll and the majority vote for unification then it will happen

There is not a majority at the moment, but there are a lot of Unionist who are as much economic unionists as anything. If no deal puts up a hard border and unification is a tool to staying within the EU I can see a slim majority going for it. The one thing we cannot be certain of is how dissident loyalists would react.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 10:12 AM

10. Please keep posting on this issue

This is the first time I have understood what Brexit means for Ireland, and how it is viewed by Irish people. I hope you'll keep posting as the news develops so that we can better understand what's going on.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 10:40 AM

11. Soph, you've made the stakes very real

Thank you for sharing your insight and perspective. I'm gonna contemplate how to overcome my news blindspots. There's so many plates spinning these days, that it isn't enough to only stare at the ones closest to my navel.

Helps to steel myself against those, foreign and domestic, who are working to upend peaceful order.

I'm looking up and out, and the view is not normal.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 10:48 AM

12. I saw the scars of the violence when I visited....

I too have an Irish family descendants almost equally on both sides of the border. A United Ireland would be an economic powerhouse to the EU, perhaps the majority will see this. Your stronger together, than you are apart.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 10:48 AM

13. Thanks for your insight.

It's much appreciated.

It is sad to watch a once Great Britain become so small on the world stage.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 11:52 AM

14. Thank you for this excellent and very personal post.

I visited Ireland several times during The Troubles, but never went to the north because of what you lived through. Now I'm happy to see the North living in peace.

My great-great-grandmother left Wexford to come to America with her kids to escape the Famine in 1853, sailing on the Robert Kelly out of Liverpool.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 11:57 AM

15. Recommended.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 12:04 PM

16. I dated a gal in the early 80's from Ireland...

Here parents would talk in Gaelic anytime I was around.

She would tell me they did that because they were talking about the troubles.

Her brother was living in Belfast at the time and was front row center as he was a college student at the time.

They worried all the time for him and the rest of their family.

Her dad and uncle would travel back and forth bringing money and supplies to their family back there.

it was a good education for me, coming from a safe lower middle class family here in the states.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 12:24 PM

17. You expressed this so beautifully - poetically, even.

“A child of the troubles” - really helps bring it home. Beautifully written. Points out the sheer human poignancy of the issue.

Ancestry.com tells me I have Irish heritage too, even though I’m an adoptee. So I get this, even though several degrees removed.

Dammit - WHY do we need walls and hard borders and the hard feelings? I can get pretty Pollyanna-ish about this (WHY? WTH??? Riffing off Rodney King: “can’t we just get along?”). But seriously, why can’t we?

The walls ‘n’ borders issue certainly is making a mess in America right now. It makes me so sad. I can only guess how this must hurt you deep down within your heart. I’m so sorry. It makes me hurt for the people in ALL of Ireland. Yearning for peace and tranquility in their beautiful, storied homeland and now looking ahead to a very realistic probability of a return to more woe, more disruption, division, destruction, and bloodshed. (Especially when that woeful past is so well-documented and well within memory.) I imagine many there might be thinking what many women here do every day in America about Roe v Wade: “I thought we had this SETTLED!”

I wish we could all just get along. We’re told to share our toys in pre-school. And look how far that carries, ‘eh? When can humans really, actually, seriously, start to grow up?

I’m so sorry. I, too, thought “we had this settled.”

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Response to calimary (Reply #17)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:16 PM

19. This:

Now as news comes in
Of each neighbourly murder
We pine for ceremony,
customary rites:

the temperate footsteps
of each cortège, winding past
each blinded home.
I would restore

the great chambers of Boyne,
prepare a sepulchre
under the cupmarked stones.
Out of side-streets and by-roads

purring family cars
nose into line,
the whole country tunes
to the muffled drumming

of ten thousand engines.
Somnabulant women,
left behind, move
through emptied kitchens

imagining our slow triumph
towards the mounds.
Quiet as a serpent
in its grassing bouelvard,

the procession drags its tail
out of the Gap of the North
as its head already enters
the megalithic doorway.

Seamus Heeney - Funeral Rites

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Response to Soph0571 (Reply #19)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:24 PM

20. "...Quiet as a serpent..."

So lyrical.

I’m in awe, my friend.

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Response to calimary (Reply #20)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:32 PM

22. I cannot recommend his poetry enough

“Digging”
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests: snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging......

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Response to Soph0571 (Reply #22)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:47 PM

30. Superb!

“... Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests: snug as a gun...”

Dayum! That one certainly resonates, especially for those of us who view the pen as a weapon, too. Figuratively speaking, of course. As a writer, that’s my only “weapon” of choice.

And I’m pretty much a back-of-the-classroom variety compared to the works of giants like this poet.

I’ll never forget the Writers’ Strike that I covered years ago when I was still working. One of those protest posters that STILL speaks with a roar:

“In the Beginning Was the WORD.”

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:06 PM

18. I recently watched "Mother's Day," a heartbreaking (but ultimately very uplifting) movie

about the aftermath of the Warrington bombings. And my family and i took a very interesting tour of Belfast a few years ago, with the troubles prominently featured, but thankfully, mostly in the past. It would be such a criminally preventable travesty to do anything to undermine this hard-earned peace.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:29 PM

21. Thank you for your heartfelt testimony, Soph

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 01:59 PM

23. Thank you so much Soph for sharing such an important piece of yourself.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:02 PM

24. I was speaking to some friend who live in Ireland

Things are getting crazy there. They live close to a shooting range, and the target practice has increased greatly.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:10 PM

25. on the plus side

no ian paisley running around shooting his mouth off... small consolation.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:20 PM

26. It could get really ugly really fast

A hard border will reignite the troubles, make no mistake about it. For dissidents on the republican side any customs posts – be they at the actual border or 10 miles away – will be a target for violence. A bandit border will return. Tit of Tat will start. The only thing I cannot see this time round is the British Army on the streets, more like a UN peace keeping force.



It the Brexiters bring in the British Army to deal with the border, what's to prevent Ireland, as a member of the EU, from asking for military assistance from the other member states?

We could see the British Army on one side of the border, with German, French and/or Italian troops on the other, just moments away from an encounter that could ignite armed conflict, just as Russia has hoped,

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:23 PM

27. In a future where Boris gets his way

and a hard Brexit happens...

Would it be possible to have Northern Ireland join Ireland as a sort of "Hong Kong" or Taiwan and keep the open borders and the peace?

Will Scotland finally leave "Great Britain" (making it less great)?

Will Wales follow the Scots out? Leaving England as a much smaller and much more isolated non EU nation in Europe?

The United Kingdom has been on the decline for 120 years... losing most if not all of the former British Empire...

The saying used to be "The Sun never sets on the British Empire"... but with hardline Brexit, it seems the sun has set on the United Kingdom.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:26 PM

28. I'll just put this here, cause I don't have much to add but wanted to say something ...

My favorite performance of this song ... Live From Slane Castle, 2002 ... before 200K people ... Bono names all the 29 victims ...

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #28)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:28 PM

29. Stockholm 88

Screamed that song at the top of my lungs!

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 02:59 PM

31. Thanks for reminding us that hate gets us nowhere.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 03:29 PM

32. I was in Donegal over 25 years ago this month

I saw the paintings on the walls... I heard the news on the radio stating a man was shot in his front door, a retaliation hit... It's crazy.. I'm not Irish and have only been there twice but I feel for the country and it's "troubles".... To me, Religion and politics cause lots of grief in this world.. YMMV...
m

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 05:04 PM

33. KR NT

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 05:23 PM

34. Thank you for sharing this

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 05:36 PM

35. Wow!!!!! Thank you

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 06:17 PM

36. What's a "bandit border"?

smugglers? illegal crossings? pirates near border points?

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #36)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 06:24 PM

37. That and more

During the troubles the border lands were heavily militarised but lawless. Smuggling of everything including guns etc. Terrorists going back and forth. Communities living in terror on the border (both sides). People dying. It was a complete shit show. Now of course the bandit border will also be about those border communities who are so used to crossing the border daily to go about their daily business also ignoring new rules (as well they should) but they will risk legal jeopardy because of this.

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Response to Soph0571 (Reply #37)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 06:27 PM

38. Thanks, that shows why you chose the broad term

like a Berlin Wall area without the wall

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 08:31 PM

39. The Brits and the DUP

have been looking for ways to strangle the Belfast Agreement for a long time. They know very well that the longer it goes the more likely it is that unification will come. The Tories and a doddering Queen are living in the past and really believe that they are an Empire. They speak glowingly about it constantly during "Prime Minister's Questions". I suggest people visit "The Irish Times" news site and make it a resource to go to on this aspect of a horrible situation. My heavens you should hear how disrespectfully the Tory MP's speak to the Scottish and Welsh MP's during "Prime Minister's Questions". Now the UK is saying they will likely be a deadbeat about paying the agreed upon amount of money they owe the EU. The Irish have a long history of being badly treated and lied to by the Brits. They have no reason to believe any assurances by the Brits about not having troops on a hard border.

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Response to moniss (Reply #39)

Fri Aug 30, 2019, 11:28 PM

40. As someone with one Scottish parent and one Welsh parent,

I can tell you that it makes my blood BOIL to watch PMs Questions time, so I rarely do anymore.

The Scots WILL leave "the empire" if the hard brexit is undertaken. Family members (here and there) talk non-stop about the manipulation of that vote, the campaign of disinformation that ensued (include the part the Russians played in that discussion, remember that Putin wants to see a divided island and a destabilised democracy), and the growing numbers of Scots who will demand another vote, claiming that the first was a total sham. Being some of the most fiercely independent people anywhere on earth, they could vote themselves out of "the empire" altogether. They will not be swayed a second time about tradition, history, destiny and fraternity. Keep in mind that Scotland CAN financially support itself. Vast oil fields in the North Sea.

Wales, on the other hand, is like the proverbial "red-headed step-child" of GB. "England's first colony" (all apologies and a tip of the hat to Geardaddy) Terribly mistreated and always left needing. The Welsh will NEVER leave and are attached surgically at the hip of England. There is no real independent economy in Wales, indeed it has flatlined for the last two years, and is seeing an increase in poverty rates and rising inflation. The biggest industry in Wales is tourism.

Regardless of where you are in the mix or how you stand on the brexit question at this moment, there is just too much uncertainty to calm anyone and it appears not to bode well for the UK no matter what path it takes. I think all of us displaced or diaspora Brits are full up on anxiety. And Guiness . . . Hoping for the best. We'll see. I'm not that optimistic.

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #40)

Sun Sep 1, 2019, 11:53 AM

42. I wish the best of outcomes

for your relatives. I have a dear friend in Ireland who helps to bring clarity to me about these matters from the Irish perspective. A recent news article gives some idea of how petty the Tories and the DUP have been as it detailed the summer language program that they gutted. It was part of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement that there would be funding to send groups of school students from the 6 Counties to Irish language camps for a couple of weeks each year. How awfully petty to hurt the children in this way.

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Response to Soph0571 (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2019, 03:07 AM

41. No-deal Brexit 'could motivate extremists in Northern Ireland'

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/30/no-deal-brexit-could-motivate-dissident-republicans-in-northern-ireland-says-barbara-gray

Remember the build-up to the referendum; the Brexiters always called any reference to a re-ignition of violence in NI as "Project Fear" nonsense. Bastards!

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