“No more exceptionally stupid wars” in NI…

WHILE I’m not convinced that the ‘lessons of Northern Ireland’ are directly applicable to other conflicts, there are some lovely turns of phrase in this article in Kenya’s Daily Nation. Here’s one: Essentially, the army in Northern Ireland prevented warmongers and brewers of hatred from annihilating each other. Meanwhile, they became civilised. Hopefully, a relapse to barbarism will remain on vacation. Then the remaining 5,000 British troops can just train and expect no more exceptionally stupid wars. One more: There’s no dispute the Northern Ireland government had little use for its Catholic citizens. Therefore, they went to the streets in the 1960s to demand rights even shaggy dogs deserve. Wonder if the shaggy dogs were the ones in the street?

  • The Dubliner

    That’s a cute rant… seems like his sole sources for his analysis were, oh dear, the British Army’s Operation Banner report and Kevin Myers.

    “The lesson from Northern Ireland is that even the most seemingly intractable conflict is resolvable, when common sense prevails over “aggressive indulgence” in whatever cause.”

    That’s one lesson. Another lesson is that trouble stops if the leading troublemakers are given political power and control of the state, but only where the violence is organised and diligently controlled and the protagonists can successfully persuade their tribe that their particular aims were achieved when, in actuality, only the power-seeking aims of the protagonists were achieved. Unfortunately, that lesson conflicts with a more important pre-existing lesson, i.e. that violence and incitement to violence should not be rewarded. So, democracies may not want, understandably, that particular ‘peace-making’ lesson from NI’s Troubles to be learned by others, preferring to focus on propaganda/hyperbole of “historic settlements” that don’t actually resolve the underlying dynamics but merely provide a welcome respite from them.

    Somewhat cynical, but there you go…

  • Aquifer

    “seems like his sole sources for his analysis were, oh dear, the British Army’s Operation Banner report and Kevin Myers.”

    Oh dear indeed.

    This rewriting of history is relentless, but very difficult when the columnist at the Nation is on duty.

  • Otto

    The Kenyans are right about one thing…if it wasn`t for the British Army Northern Ireland would have decended into carnage on the scale of places like Bosnia or Rwanda. We all owe them a debt we cannnot repay

  • Wilde Rover

    “Then the remaining 5,000 British troops can just train and expect no more exceptionally stupid wars.”

    Considering the possibility of being in the poppy fields of Helmand or at the airport in Basra one would imagine that the average squaddie in NI would be quite relieved at not having to expect such scenarios.

  • Follow The Money


    Well we have one of the most advanced methods of establishing the different elements of how both conflicts are related. That is the Keyanian ‘Emergency’ (1954-1962c) and the ‘Ulster Crisis’ (1966c – ).

    The British operations were highly sucessful in isolating the ‘terrorists’ and taking ‘the majority’ of the africian tribes with them. They turned the conflict into a very brutal civil war in which very few British people were killed. The majority who supported the British all the way through were called ‘Loyalists’. The very small minority who fought this regime were called ‘Terrorists’ or sometimes the Land and Freedom Army.

    Britian *allowed* Kenya to be independent after any radicalism and the LFA had been drowned in blood. Kenyatta was then released to oversea a Kenya which had become an even more pilable (neo-)colonial state. Just like neighbouring the ‘independent’ Congo. The very large farming estates of Kenya and everything else of value in region have stayed in British and European hands.

    It was only recently that those who fought the British in Kenya were comemorated in Kenya.

    But there are some important differences the public hanging of the rebels changed little in Kenya one wonders what would have happened in Ireland if Gerry Adams or Bobby Sands were publically hanged.

    The piece form the Nation you quote indicates how Kenyian polity is still strongly influenced by British and imperial thinking