Re: Northern Ireland (was Re: Nanotech Restrictions)

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Wed Apr 26 2000 - 08:33:31 MDT

On Wed, Apr 26, 2000 at 10:14:14AM -0400, wrote:
> > The Unionists are Irish by your definition ... and non-native, by your
> > previous definition. Which do you want to use?
> Again, it's clearly a question of native by birth (in this case you can be a
> Native New Yorker and be Jamaican) or by heritage. I understand the
> difference, why would you pretend not to?
I'm not "pretending" anything; I'm just highly pissed off with a common
American reaction -- to blame one side for a civil war, when both sides
are pretty much evenly to blame (judging by the number of murders).

The hard men with the guns are all a bunch of bloodthirsty clowns, and
we'd all be better off without them. But arguing that the problem is
"British imperialism" is to reduce it to an absurd proposition. Sure,
the original invasion of Ireland in the 17th century was reprehensible.
Sure, the actions of the settlers' descendants since then were also bad.
But pulling the British government out of the North right now isn't going
to fix that; it's just going to make the UVF start on a rampage of ethnic
cleansing, and make the pIRA or the cIRA or whatever they call themselves
this week retaliate in kind.

There seems to be a cultural assumption ingrained in a lot of Americans
that in any conflict, there must be a bunch of goodies and a bunch of
baddies, and all that is necessary is to identify the good guys and side
with them. This is one struggle where the bad guys are distributed
evenly on all sides -- if you want to root for someone, root for the peace
process and the politicians sitting around the negotiating table and
_talking_ to each other about how to get _all_ the guns and bombs off the
street. Those guys understand that any peace settlement has to be
multilateral; even the British government has accepted that proposition
(since Margaret Thatcher was forced to quit).

-- Charlie

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