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Aug. 2nd, 2005

Ah, Lionel Shriver is back again, talking about those nasty little Northern Irish Catholics:
Surely, Catholic civil rights might have been secured without killing anybody? Civil rights for blacks in the US came about largely through peaceful protest and civil disobedience, an approach based on Gandhi's successful strategy for pursuing Indian independence. Granted, Britain's hysterical desire to stop the bombings doubtless hastened the satisfaction of Catholic grievances. By the 1980s, Ulster Catholics had the finest public housing in Europe, and the highest number of leisure centres per capita in the UK, while working-class Protestant enclaves were still ailing. Anti-discrimination bodies overseeing employment were already vigilant and aggressive. It might have taken a bit longer, but these remedies were all doable without blowing anybody up.

It takes a lot to set me off in some sort of nationalist rant, but the fact that Shriver has managed this twice has to mean something. How dare those civil rights groups get aggressive! Catholics should have been happy to take whatever crumbs they were given! In fact, all my Belfast relatives should have just stayed there enjoying their leisure centres rather than bugger off to a place - England - where they might actually be employed. You know, Unionists are, justifiably, very fond of demanding apologies for decades of nationalist violence, and rightly so. But do you think we're ever going to hear Orangemen and other Unionists apologise for several decades of anti-Catholic discrimination? Or for gerrymandering? I really, really doubt it. And let's get back to this bit:
Surely, Catholic civil rights might have been secured without killing anybody?

You'd think, wouldn't you? Especially in the Bogside, in 1972. Except wait, the nationalists were the only people who ever killed anyone, weren't they? So let's forget that little incident never happened! After all, the army wanted to. I don't think the 'Ra's violence was ever justified. But can I understand why it happened? Yes, I can, especially when I see footage of Bloody Sunday. Doesn't mean I agree with it, by any stretch of the imagination, or condone it. But understanding that violence doesn't usually happen out of the blue is obviously too much for Shriver.
During the dozen years I lived in Belfast, I offended more locals than I can count.

You don't say.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
tenderhooligan
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:32 am (UTC)
Surely you know, dear, that we Nasty Norn Iron Catholics did all that just for a larf! We were bored - seeing as we were too damn lazy to work and all - so we decided that we would exact a little carnage around the place for kicks; and it just went from there. Yes... that's what happened.
stellanova
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:46 am (UTC)
See, that's what happens when you spend your time praying to the Pope/elevating Mary above God/having ten zillion children/whatever else we're supposed to do - you don't have time to work and then you get jealous of your more sensible neighbours and start blowing things up out of Pure Spite.

I bet there are people who actually think that, too....possibly Lionel Shriver.
daegaer
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:36 am (UTC)
There was a fascinating article in the Guardian weekend magazine some years back, looking at Protestant Belfast working class areas. All the people interviewed were extremely bitter about the fine upstanding Unionist politicians, who had told them that to seek better services and access to rights for Protestants was merely to give in to the Nationalist Catholic agenda. So they didn't. And their areas got more run down, and the traditional working class industrial jobs for men dried up. And now they were looking at the (somewhat) better living conditions - leisure centres and all - of their Catholic neighbours and realising that the Unionists had sold them down the river in an attempt to stop working class solidarity.
stellanova
Aug. 2nd, 2005 09:47 am (UTC)
That's one of the saddest things - the lack of solidarity where there should have been some sort of social unity. I don't even understand the logic of the politicians - how would better services have played into the hands of the Fiendish Fenians?
daegaer
Aug. 2nd, 2005 10:04 am (UTC)
I don't even understand the logic of the politicians - how would better services have played into the hands of the Fiendish Fenians?

I suppose it would have been the end of the world if both sides had realised the others were just ordinary people. And, horror of horrors, maybe they'd have let their children play together. Can't be having that, you know.

socmot
Aug. 2nd, 2005 10:26 am (UTC)
By the 1980s, Ulster Catholics had the finest public housing in Europe

That's a lie, if the houses my uncle and his family live in are anything to go buy. Lousy houses, awful estates (not counting the one they were almost firebombed out of by the UVF, with the then RUC turning a blind eye) and piss poor transport, leisure and shopping facilities.

Lionel Shriver makes me foam at the mouth...
ladyxoc
Aug. 2nd, 2005 11:02 am (UTC)
Yes, and they served cake, too.
Civil rights for blacks in the US came about largely through peaceful protest and civil disobedience, an approach based on Gandhi's successful strategy for pursuing Indian independence.

Um. No. Not so very peaceful, actually, if you look at the entire picture. Inconveniently enough, people INSISTED on getting themselves killed. Damn them.
millamant_
Aug. 2nd, 2005 01:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Yes, and they served cake, too.
That was my first thought too. There were plenty of retaliatory lynchings of blacks who dared to show up to vote or demand other basic rights, church burnings, brutal beatings, and of course the assassination of figures like Medgar Evers and MLK.
enoneoftheabove
Aug. 2nd, 2005 02:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, what an idiot! Doesn't he know how much violence occured during the height of the civil rights movement in the U.S.? Blacks were attacked and terrorized! And no, they didn't always take it in the spirit of Ghandi. Hasn't he ever heard of the Black Panthers?
queencallipygos
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:09 pm (UTC)
Civil rights for blacks in the US came about largely through peaceful protest and civil disobedience, an approach based on Gandhi's successful strategy for pursuing Indian independence.

All of the following found on Wikipedia.

1965 -
February 21 - Malcolm X shot to death in Manhattan, New York, probably by members of the Black Muslim faith.
March 7 - "Bloody Sunday" on the Selma to Montgomery marches: civil rights workers in Selma, Alabama begin a march to Montgomery but are stopped by a police blockade. Many marchers are severely injured.
August 11 - Watts riots erupt.

1966 -
October - Black Panthers founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California.

1968 -
April 4 - Dr. Martin Luther King shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee.

And that's just the incidents that fell in the period considered part of the Civil Rights movements. Wikipedia also includes things like the riots after Rodney King.
nwhyte
Aug. 2nd, 2005 05:48 pm (UTC)
I think she goes over the top, but there was a huge difference between the situation of 1968 and 1988; I'd hesitate to put firmer dates on it, but once Stormont had been abolished and the British committed that any replacement must have Catholic participation, the demands of the civil rights movement had been met, and fair employment legislation put in place and starting to work, it's pretty much impossible to see what was gained by the IRA campaign after (to use the calendar of Anthony McIntyre and colleagues) 1974. Shriver writes as someone who arrived in the 1980s.

However her failure to acknowledge what had happened over the period since 1920 is simply extraordinary. I hope you're writing to the Guardian about it!
stellanova
Aug. 2nd, 2005 06:26 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, I know the IRA campaign of the '80s had nothing to do with civil rights. It's just the fact that Shriver writes as if (a) the civil rights movement was an intrinsic part of the IRA and vice versa (she doesn't appear to know about the peaceful civil rights movement at all, as she doesn't even mention the fact that there were indeed a lot of people going the Gandhi route) and (b) there weren't a lot of reasons why it all turned violent. And to me, she's belittling the genuine need for Catholic civil rights in general. She just seems to have spent her time in some sort of Paisley-coloured ghetto
khalinche
Aug. 3rd, 2005 09:42 am (UTC)
I know nothing beyond the basic facts about the situation in Norn Ireland, and I can't read her columns all the way through. She just seems to shoot her mouth off clumsily in all directions, without backing up anything she says. It belongs in the Daily Mail. I hope they sack her soon.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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