American Civil War VS. The Troubles

17 Apr

          The resemblance between the American civil war and the troubles in Northern Ireland are regretfully uncanny. They had both fought for their rights to be equal citizens within their own countries and had made the ultimate sacrifice to try and better the lives of their predecessors. Most lessons that are taught about discrimination and violence speak of the American civil war between blacks and the whites, a fight for equality. Within this fight lied a minority group that was ostracized and struggled to make their own identity known and have it be equally respected as those who sought to take them down; just as the nationalists fought for their freedom.

             The troubles are one of the most modern examples of religious and ethnic intolerance. The conflict in Northern Ireland began in the 1960’s with civil rights marches and formally ended with the 1998 Belfast agreement, although violence and intolerance very much persists today. The Troubles primarily centers on the conflict between Northern Ireland’s Protestant and Catholic communities. However I have noticed that each community defines the Troubles differently. A Protestant might view the conflict as an attempt to ensure that Northern Ireland remains a part of the United Kingdom.  On the other hand, a Catholic may interpret the Troubles as a movement to bring equality to Catholics. Shameful actions were made by both sides killing not only the ones ready to fight but innocent bystanders. It affected everyone’s everyday lives.

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       At the orange order the man who spoke with us kept stating that all they were trying to do was to preserve their history and the culture. He felt as though it was up to them to keep the traditions and culture alive. One can clearly see the cultural inequality that is rooted with in the landscape, place names, public buildings and official culture favouring the Protestants of Northern Ireland.  I am not here saying I side with one party or the other. One heinous act by one party was followed up by another from the other party. People can try and hold onto the past as tightly as they would like but the fact is that at some point you’re going to have to let go.

            Times are changing; Ireland is changing. The younger generations are being more emerged into American ideals and culture. More and more companies are settling here which is great for the Irish economy but it also brings a new wave of people with their own customs and culture mingling with the rest of the Irish society broadening their views of the world. Religion is becoming more and more scarcely practiced especially among the younger crowd. Those of whom are the future of this country.  No matter what religion you claim or region of Ireland you live in one should be able to be themselves without prejudice. One should never forget the past but they shouldn’t live in it either. They must remember it but move forward and evolve with the people.

 

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