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The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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RE: [vox] [OT] (really OT) question about ireland
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RE: [vox] [OT] (really OT) question about ireland



One of the coders on my game is from Northern Ireland. He was fed 
up with people not understanding the situation in his country, so 
he wrote the following post on the subject. I think it should answer 
most of your questions.

Shwaine the Wandering Arch of Malevolence
--------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.malevolence.com              http://www.shwaine.com
telnet://shwaine.dyn.greystoneapts.com:3000



Post 44 by Morph on Wed Jun 26 07:50:58 2002
Subject: Situation: Northern Ireland


Recently a number of people have seemed confused by the situation in
my home country (Northern Ireland) and a few have expressed interest
at knowing what is happening. I have decided to write a short outline
of this and how I see it.
These are my views only, with as brief a history as I could manage, and
thus do not reflect the views of the Admin or anyone else.
It is quite long, sorry.

(If you do not wish to read further on this long post, hit q then 
return)










   Soldiers are busier than ever in Belfast, a city in the grip of
   the worst sectarian violence for years.

   If what happens in north Belfast almost every night kicked off
   in any other city in the United Kingdom it would be front page
   news and there would be almost as many television crews on the
   streets as rioters.
                                Extract from Soldier magazine

   "Because people are not aware of what is going on they think
    nothing is going on. Actually nothing could be further from
    the truth. It is not considered by editors back home[England]
    to be very interesting. We have, after all, been at this for
    34 years without a break. It has to be really exceptionally
    interesting to enter people's consciousness."
                                        Lt Gen Alistair Irwin

        These violent outbursts are so common in my society that 
the sight
of Police or Army armoured vehicles goes unnoticed as the pass through 
the
community. A walk through the city of Belfast will show the multitude of
sectarian slogans and organizational acronyms. Flags lining the streets
will change colours between streets, a sign of which sectarian community
holds sway there.
        In most areas, a stranger is never a "friend you have not met",
but instead a person to be watched carefully. For each word they 
say, each
phrase they use - even the way they pronounce the letter "h" - is a clue
to which "side" they are on.
        What is it all about?

        In the early 17th century, land was confiscated by the British
crown and "planted" with Scottish and English settlers after they had
suppressed the Irish rebellion. At this point Ireland was united with a
majority of Protestants, and it was not til much later [late 19th 
century]
that this was questioned. Born then was Home Rule, the idea that Ireland
should rule itself independent of the Great Britain. There was little
violence at this stage (of note were the murders of two British officials)
and it was not until the later Home Rule Bills [numbers 3 and 4] were
in parliament that private armies arose from the people.
        Then came the Easter Rebellion of 1916, which was crushed 
but made
way for an Irish assembly to be set up to rule an independent Ireland 
two
years later. For the next couple of years a guerrilla war was fought
between British irregulars and the IRA [Irish Republican Army].
        In 1921 the Irish Free State was created by way of the Anglo-
Irish
treaty and all ties were eventually severed with Great Britain. Northern
Ireland, or Ulster, remained a part of the United Kingdom under the 
forth
Home Rule bill, despite the Irish Free State refusing to recognise the
finality of the partition. Violence from here onwards has been common on
both sides of the border.
        After World War II, and in part due to agitation caused during 
it
that aided Germany, both governments of Ireland outlawed the IRA, which
became a secret organisation. During the 1950's it organized bombings in
the cities of Belfast and London, and along the Ulster border.
        1969 saw the IRA split into two factions, those who wanted a
united Ireland, but disavowed terrorist activities, and the "provisionals"
who claimed that terrorism was "a necessary catalyst for unification".
British troops were called in to keep the peace in August 1969, and 
in the
end have been caught in the middle. In the years following, persons 
having
connections to the IRA or other militant groups were imprisoned. This
caused further unrest, in which the IRA and UDA[Ulster Defense Association]
intensified their activities, reaching afar afield as London and Dublin.
        In 1994 the IRA declared a cease-fire in an attempt to open
negotiations and later Protestant paramilitary groups also declared a
cease-fire. Talks went ahead in 1995 but a resumption of violence 
from the
IRA caused problems. A new cease-fire from the IRA in 1997 has allowed
an accord to be reached where the Republic of Ireland has given up
territorial claims on Northern Ireland and a new government was set up,
ending direct rule of the province from Britain. The process was only
hampered by disagreement over the disarmament of paramilitary groups.
        Present day, the terrorist groups still exist, from the IRA to
the UVF [Ulster Volunteer Force] and many more, each armed with all 
kinds
of weaponry (illegal in the UK) and existing as a hidden community. And
like any community or country, they have an income; theirs generated by
terror and the sale of illegal materials, primarily drugs. They each 
have
their own unofficial police forces, from a few guys with baseball 
bats to
masked gunmen to enforce their will. With the current cease-fire
apparently active, bombings are reduced, though not suspended entirely.
        Riots happen wherever the two sides of Nationalists and Unionists
meet, and there are several hotspots of sectarianism dotted about the
country. Children in many communities are taught from their cot to 
believe
that the other side is evil, that they would hurt you unless you 
get them
first. Before they are sixteen, children in these hotspots are most 
likely
in one paramilitary group or another, learning to "fight the Good fight"
for their country, each believing they are right and doing what is 
right.
I should not need to illustrate for you the similarities between this
situation and those of other communities in the middle east which have
been in the world news these recent years.
        Those of you in the US will no doubt be readying yourselves to
celebrate the 4th July: Independence Day. This secular holiday is known
throughout the world as an expression and celebration of freedom, though
until the recent problems with the Al-Quaeda many Americans sponsored 
the
the oppression and terrorism of my country by contributing to such para-
military organisations as the IRA.
        And now as we near the start of July, the marching season has
begun here in full swing, resulting in more sectarian clashes of 
violence.
Soon it will be July 11th, the night before Bonfire Night, when the 
worst
cases of violence are usually seen all over the province; paramilitary
rule overshadowing the law, an Allhallows eve of sectarianism.

        "Are you a Prod or a Teig?"
        "Are you a Brit or a Fenian?"
        "Are you a Protestant or a Catholic?"
        These words are enough to instil fear, to cause violence, to
discriminate, to oppress. The cost of rebuilding weakens our economy;
the cost of hatred is to make life unbearable for some; the cost of life
is beyond measure.
        Just because you do not hear from us does not mean it is 
all right.
No news is not good news, not from here.


Morph







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