Did I celebrate or commemorate 1916? No, I didn’t go to any of the organised events.

Did I boycott the events, taking the view that the Rising was neither justified nor effective? No, I didn’t. I’m unsure about my feelings. I’m not great on those commemorations anyway, especially those organised by the establishment (whatever that is). I had other things on.

Speaking of Boycott, wasn’t he a 19th Century absentee British landlord who evicted his tenants over some Land League organised action of theirs, the kind of persecutions that the Republicans rose up against in 1916? Yes, that’s the fellow.

So, they were justified in The Rising? I don’t know.

Well, they were or they weren’t. Were they? I don’t know. It’s complicated. It’s Ireland. It was Stephen Dedalus who said: “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” And that was 12 years before the Rising.

But hold on? Aren’t we ourselves now throwing Irish people out of their homes on to the street one hundred years later, in the name of banks and absentee landlords? Em, yes, yes we are.

So should we have another rising against ourselves? That would be nice, but without the guns this time, maybe. We had a democratic opportunity a month ago but didn’t take it. We might have another one soon.

So if that’s still going on, surely the Rising couldn’t have been justified? I don’t know.

Would we have had a peaceful free independent Republic in any case, as the British had promised? I don’t know, but I wonder if that matters now. They rose, they were killed, they killed, 485 died.

Did The Rising lead on to the War of Independence and the Civil War, where many more Irish and British men and women died? Probably.

Did The Rising give succour and even inspiration to people like the Provisional IRA in their murderous campaign in Ireland and Britain decades later? Probably.

Did we, as a nation, abandon the principles we so avowedly espoused in the Proclamation? Once we found freedom did we hand over control of our destiny to a pernicious church? Yes we did. In particular we abandoned many of our sisters and daughters to decades of persecution and abuse at the hands of those men. I especially blame Dev but they were all in on it.

Will Irish people ever agree on our history and on what happened one hundred, or even twenty five years ago? Probably not.

Can we at least be proud of the vision and aims of the men and women who rose in 1916? Yes. Yes we can.

Is it too late now, one hundred years later, to realise the dreams of those women and men who sacrificed their lives in 1916? No, it isn’t.

Can we, as our president so fervently asked of us last night: “realise the possibility of an inclusive future, in which we share our Republic and its opportunities with all who belong to her – both here and abroad”? Yes.

Was my view of the centenary of the Rising influenced by the great programme that RTE put on last night? Yes.

Was it another moving display of who we are and what we can achieve? Yes.

Did I cry when I saw that young girl (Aobh Magan, great granddaughter of The O’Rahily) climb the green Hill of Tara and declare the first words of the proclamation? Yes.

Did I cry when I saw those other men and women, girls and boys read the rest of the proclamation from around the world? Yes.

What is the last sentence of the Proclamation again? “In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.”

Will our current politicians and ‘leaders’ now sacrifice even a smidgeon of their political and personal self-interest to form a government so that Ireland can move forward towards happiness and prosperity and to cherish all of the children of the nation equally? No they won’t.

Will more Irish families be evicted for banks and absentee landlords this year, swelling the numbers of our homeless? Yes.

But am I still proud to be Irish? Yes, I am.

And will I try to do better for my country? Yes, I will.

Will I make a trip to Dublin in the coming weeks and pay homage in the GPO and The Garden of Remembrance and Kilmainham Gaol to those women and men who fought and died for Ireland? Yes, yes, I will.

One thought on “1916, Some Questions

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