Can Northern Ireland Remember its Past Ethically? Course on ‘Ethical Remembering: Acknowledging the Decade of Change & Violence, 1912-1922’ begins next week

imageIt’s certain that people in Northern Ireland will continue to remember the events of its troubled past. What’s less certain is exactly how they will remember those events, and how they will choose to celebrate, commemorate or even condemn what has gone before.

Beginning in 2012, the island of Ireland will be heading into a decade in which the centenary of a number of key events will no doubt be marked. These include the Ulster Covenant, the Easter Proclamation, the Somme, the Irish War of Independence, partition and civil war.

It could be argued that these events have never been peacefully put to rest and opposing interpretations about them have been nurtured throughout the Troubles and up until the present day.

Beginning this week (Wednesday 19 January, 7.30-9.30 pm) the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin at Belfast, will begin a six-week continuing education course called ‘Ethical Remembering: Acknowledging the Decade of Change and Violence, 1912-1922.’

Facilitated by Dr Johnston McMaster and Dr Cathy Higgins, the weekly topics will include:

  • Ethical Remembering and Future Vision (19 Jan)
  • Covenant, Guns and Militarised Politics (26 Jan)
  • Rising, Blood Sacrifice and Equality Deferred (2 Feb)
  • The Somme, Slaughter and Sectarianised Memory (9 Feb)
  • An Irish Parliament and a War of Independence (16 Feb)
  • Partition, Civil War and Legacy (23 Feb)

The course is open to anyone interested in the subject matter and in improving understanding between the churches and within the local community. More information can be found here.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    And of course youre fully entitled to believe that.
    Its a learning experience and Im always prepared to learn but as Rev Norman Hamilton said recently “there is no value free education”. I want to know who is teaching me.
    As Ive said on another board recently (I am necessarily more open on another forum) I have personal and extended familial connexions to few, some or all of the usual groups in the community relations and “peace” field.
    My leraned experience so far is … youd expect..we are after all individuals….different.
    Golden Circle……is there not a belief that the professional and business community is so small that people appointed to boards know each other professional and socially.
    Golden Fáinne perhaps….the belief that the people within the “cultural movements” know each other socially and professionally.
    Golden Halo……the “churchy” and secular closed world of “Peace” and “Community Relations” and Conflict Resolution.
    There are 108 MLAs, 500 or whatever councillors and I recognise that theyve obtained a mandate. And I recognoise that many more courageously seek that mandate.But theres a world beyond that of maybe another 500 or so important and self important people who have slightly too much influence for my taste.

  • granni trixie

    You clearly have a bee in your bonnet about certain people or kinds of people,based on your observations of patterns. Without a proper conversation I simply cannot be sure if I agree with your interpretation of that data however.

    For what its worth I have applied to quangos whose work interests me (you have bee in bonnet about them too I observe) and never been successful. To you this signifies that I am not in the inner circle. To me it may be because:
    a bad interview
    wrong gender (female)
    more likely – labelled Alliance – hard to justify “representative of the community” criteria. I think that this last reason is none utilized often to cover other reasons for anyone being/not being appointed.

    On occasion, an Alliance person is appointed as “a safe pair of hands” but more often they are disadvantaged because they cannot easily be pidgeonholed in terms of a quango being “representative of the community”.

    To you ofcoruse being in APNI means one is likely to be appointed.

    You seem to have a touching belief in elected people as rightful leaders whereas it is clear from the NI situation that progress cannot be left to politicans alone.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Granni Trixie,
    The positive discrimination for or against Alliance might be better determined academically by someone other than an Alliance member or indeed someone like me who is occasionally supportive of and occasionally hostile to your Party.
    As I have a chip on both shoulders Im relatively balanced about my own exclusion. Its mostly because I have merely dabbled around the edges of peace and/or community involvement. One being the non contentious issue of school governor (obviously years ago) and one more recent community activity on which Id rather not elaborate.

    So I am a firm believer if youre not in…you cant win. And Ive always been happier on the outer edges of the Golden Halo.
    While you may not be at the centre of it, youd probably agree that you are much more central than I am.
    My own supposed bee in my bonnet ..well thats hardly the case as Ive avoided involvement rather than sought it. But you do appear to havea bee in your bonnet about your own lack of advancement due to your gender or your AP membership. One of these cases might be more reasonable than the other.

    My seeming apparent “touching belief” in elected politicians is little to do with any touching belief in their ability. Merely a touching belief in the Electorate.
    It is of course understandable that the fifth party in Norn Iron has no touching belief in the electorate or democracy.
    The Electorate after all have little or no belief in the Alliance party 🙂

  • fjh, I stumbled on Corrymeela in 1971 though I’d known Ray Davey from my time at QUB; I also got involved with JCSS in Coleraine. There may have been a few folks in pursuit of a Golden Halo but I encountered a very broad section of society amongst the volunteers – class was left at the door.

    Your belief in the electorate is indeed touching. It seems it has got the government it deserves 🙁

  • granni trixie

    Nevin – many thanks for links to the JCSS doc. – through some research in the past I knew about these kiinds of activities in the 70s but had not come across this.

    FJH: Let me clarify:
    1. I accept the authority of those chosen by the Electorate too its just that I think that I also believe in the moral authority of other kinds of leadership. If we had left everything to politicans we would not be in the place we are in currently (I would argue). Take integrated education. No,its isn’t a panacea but an element in change. Every practical obstacle was put in the way of these new schools. They had to show viable before getting gov. grants. People in their spare time fundraised from charities in Germany,USA as well as closer to home to get things going initially. They also had to disseminate knowledge around NI about how to set up a new school (legalities etc).
    As with a shared future,most political parties dragged their feet,being driven by outside forces.

    2.You can try to diss Alliance all you like but the fact is that sufficient people have voted to sustain it for over 40 years when it has at times held ther balance of power,not to mention breaking the mould. And ofcouse APNI has consistently supported Integ. schools and a shared future. (there being overlaps of personnel in each arena – a third tradition).

    3. I thought my reference to “interview” indicated accceptance that lack of personal qualities are part of the possible reasons for non appointment. However I am convinced that ones face fitting makes it more of a lucky dip than ‘appointment on merit’ criteria in public appointment. A reason to keep at it? Or not?

  • GT, my fellow organiser of that Corrymeela 6th form conference mentioned in the JCSS doc is quite well known in AP circles 🙂

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Yes Nevin it has the government it wants and the one the Overclass dont want.
    I know its not a competition but I actually first encountered him before you did. As you will note above I hold him in the highest esteem. Neither he or Kathleen (RIP) ever sought a halo .Golden or otherwise.
    I use the phrase Golde Halo as the Peace/Reconciliation/Conflict Resolution/Community Relations equivelant of the Golden Circle of business men/professionals/accountants etc who monopolise positions on certain boards. Likewise there is a Golden Fáinne of cultural types and no doubt other golden geometric shapes to partly explain the pre-dominance of the same unelected and unelectable people on Boards.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Granni Trixie,
    You forget that in the case of my first son, he attended five types of school. My second son also attended five, not necessarily the same. Only #1 attended an integrated school aged 11-13 and it was a disaster. Which is one reason #2 did not go.
    Oddly when we withdrew him and said he would not be going back we had a visit from the Truancy Officer within two days. Usually it took months for a Truancy Officer to arrive (or so Im told)
    Integrated Education is not the cure-all as you say. Nor is it better or worse.

  • Munsterview

    Granni T,

    some people down here went for non-demonational schooling in the seventies and eighties, which ironically often meant schools with Cof I or other protestant dominationsns with an active anti RC attidutes in the Board of Management.

    I was on a board of management for a Catholic ethos school during this period, we had a small percentage of non catholics who did not take part in the religious instruction classes, but other than that they recieved the same education as the rest.

    I suggested at one stage that these children get a talk on philosophy during the religious instruction and while the children came from diverse backgrounds, the parents concerned about twenty in all, would not agree to a general spititual class so nothing came of it.

    When the Gael Schools took off down here, the quality of the education and the dedication of the teachers quickly established a good reputationn and radical parents began to send their childred to these schools. Catholic and other parents would have a shared anti-Catholic establishment ethos.

    The boards of managements of these schools were far more involved in the affairs of the schools and had people from working class to senior civil servants and the common interest in the love of the landguage and the desire for a good education drove these schools forward. They then became status schools and still in the main are with a completely different ethos and attitude to the National schools in the Gaeltacht speaking areas.

    I am fasinated with the Class differences as teased out in some of the foregoing posts. Down here FG represents ‘Old Money, Small Town Old business and the well to do farming class. You will not find too many TD from a working class background in that lot and those form a working class background such as retiring Cork TD Bernard Allen did not raise to the top insife party structures or parliment.

    FF represented a lot of the same but while they were some well off Old Money families associated with the party, by in large the Fianna Fail wealthy made their money post civil war.

    This was one of the driving forces behind Fianna Fail, they see the FG consilidating their economic grip on the country in the twenties and knew that the had finite time to act and gain political power or else economic power was out of reach.

    Donnacha O’Malley and assess to third level changed everything in a decade and achieved a socila revolution. Fianna Fail became the party to be associated with for social and political advancement. I recall one returned teacher in the early eighties who could not get a job so he applied for a bank loan for a hackney car.

    He had been a Republican supporter during his years abroad and had attended Sinn Fein metings here.

    It was turned down. The bank manager however had a suggestion, he advised that he talk to a certain ‘financial adviser’ the guy did, he got his loan once he joined Fianna Fail with the proviso that he make the car available at election times and for other party use.

    That is a fine example how venal and total Fianna Fail managed and consodilated power : by the Celtic Tigre era, those type of facilitated loans ran into hundreds of thousands for ‘investments’ where the applicant got loans they were not qualified for provided a certain ammount of it was put into ‘O’Connors project’ or whatever .

    Idie Amine said something about the Asian Traders that did well out of the Africans yet kept the gathered monies inside their own communities, he said that……….. ” They milked the cow but did not feed it “………. The same could be said of those that exploited the Celtic Tiger,who drew down what they could and invested in the ‘quick buck’ short term return without any long term investement in real productivity.

    However returning to the previous thread postings, the socialisings of FG tend to be inside their own circles of comfertable wealth and they frown on Fianna Fail ‘flaunt it’ vulgarity. The fianna Fail multi Millionair is as likely to be found in a standing room only train singing ‘The banks’ (of my own lovely Lee) with the rest of the plebs coming from a Cork Team win as they would be at ‘posh do’ .

    To begin with I was highly amused at the class outworkings, but having given some thought to it as the posts developed, I can now appreciate that our own Southern Class divisions are every bit as complicated but in the absence of the sectarian angle, are taken for granted.

    I did find however in my cross cultural excurcions to the North that there is a certain explicid class snobbniess up there there, irrespective of religion, that you just do not get down here. I spend a night recently in the company of an investment banker who is not short a million or two, or in fact a few dozen of the same units.

    He had flown in for the cultural event and then dirven from Dublin to be part of this local happening, ten hours travel in all and he was as genuine an integrated part of the nights activities there as the local villagers and he was on easy first name terms with all of them.
    There is more of that ‘clasleness’ down here than up there for whatever reason.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The third of six lectures on “Ethical Remembering”. Tonight The Easter Rising…….How Should it Be Commemorated in 2016.

    “Should”…..thats an odd word. Remembering whether personal or historic is something to which there can only be one answer. Remember it “honestly”. The difficulty for me is I come from a purely historic background but my fellow attendees are Christians who see it as an ethical thing. Not that I am totally averse to having ethics.
    Perhaps they are thinking which form of commemoration does the most public good.
    The lectures of course look at the upcoming decade of anniversaries….centenaries…..nice round numbers but surely we have been here before……every year…….Easter, 12th July, H Blocks Apprentice Boys, Gerry Adams Sends Duffle Coat To Dry Cleaners, Bloody Sunday, Somme.
    This is what we do. We have had the 300th Anniversary of the Boyne and the 200th Anniversary of 1798. Did anybody notice the politically correct exhibition at the Ulster Museum, placating everybody and nobody.
    So Im not sold on the idea of engineering a commemoration of Easter Rising in 2016 which is meant to appeal to everyone. Conflict Resolution. And Creative Ambiguity……what well intended crimes are committed in your names!
    My feeling is not only will these anniversaries pass almost unnoticed…eg the Ulster Covenant (next year). Of interest really only to unionists. But are there any actual serious plans. The four strands of unionism might have different responses.
    The fundamentalists in the TUV and indeed the fundamentalists in UUP might want to raise the spectre that “Ulster” has been sold out. DUP which is now traditionalist rather than fundamental might “need” to be involved. Difficult to see how “liberal unionists” eg Basil McCrea would feel comfortable with it except in the context of re-enactment and honouring forebears. And its hard to see how unionists within the non-sectarian Alliance Party would be involved. And the Protestant Church leaders (among the first seven to sign the original document) wont be commemorating it.
    Therefore this commemoration is more likely to be a non-event….lip service paid to it on 12th July.
    The Easter Rising. How should it be commemorated? Well again I cant see 108 MLAs bowing their heads at Stormont. Certainly Sinn Féin and SDLP will surely honour it. But I cant see any unnist or nationalist Alliance person being involved, even as a trade off for the Somme (which will be presented next week as a Joint opportunity). The Easter Rising (in the North) fails the cross-community the Covenant.
    Official celebrations/commemorations in the Republic will be interesting. The 50th Anniversary in 1966 was a full blown celebration. Overblown even. The 75th Anniversary was low key to the point of apology (inappropriate because of northern violence) and the Centenary…if honesty is the key will be a recognition that the sovereignty first asserted at the GPO in Dublin is in fact sold down the river to Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
    I was personally a little disappointed that the Lecturer could not resist a little aside that Sinn Féin expected the centenary would be marked by Irish Unity. Personally I think that Star Trek: The Next Generation is more accurate with 2024 (season 3 episode “The High Ground”).
    Of course, Sluggerite opinions on the Easter Rising will be more divisive than united. They were as they proclaimed publicly traitors with German allies in World War 1 (personally I have no problem with Treason) and the seven signatories to the Proclamation are a mixed bunch……Clarke (bitter) Pearse (nutter) Plunkett (weird) Connolly (social aware) MacDiarmada (sad obsessive)………Ceantt (hero) MacDonagh (all round nice guy). But Pearse depicted as High Priest of the Rising…this rang hollow for me as he was a latecomer in the Conspiracy even if he is iconic.
    The Easter connexion…..Christs suffering….blood sacrifice….obviously a key issue for Christian attendees but I could not quite get the assertion that the violent imagery of Christs own death needs to be toned down so that people don’t misuse the blood sacrifice he made. On the contrary a real depiction of Christs suffering and death would be too horrific to watch. Church Art sanitises the suffering. And besides Jesus Christ was not meant to die in his bed aged 71…….he was meant to suffer and die so that he would be identified with human suffering. Or at least that’s how I interpret his death.
    Likewise there is another side to the Blood Sacrifice………Self Sacrifice. As one attendee put it, the people in the Rising were sacrificing other peoples blood. True. But the leaders signed that Proclamation knowing it was their death warrants..they ensured that by linking Easter to the German cause in WW1. Its hard to think that in 2016, people would be so self –sacrificing. Skulking in the shadows on the Antrim Road ,a few hundred yards from the Lectures with a car bomb waiting to be detonated by remote control does not quite seem the same thing.
    The Ulster Covenant and Easter Rising are not a shared history. Well intentioned attempts to make them so are neither workable or desirable. A phrase Ive heard constantly over three sessions is that there are two versions of the Truth. Maybe so. That’s a different question. But even if that’s true……can we agree that there is only one version of Honesty. An attempts to create a shared history are well intentioned….possibly even a sanitised version or agreed version ……for the greater “Public Good”. But lets be clear. It is NOT HISTORY.

  • fjh, many thanks for reporting back to Slugger!

    How relevant are historical facts? Many are not in the public domain and many folks will respond to perceptions and ‘tribal’ shibboleths.

    Here’s an interesting observation from 1966 – just add in UVF and you have a foretaste of what was to come in the North.

    Michael O’Dea: ” Although many of the trappings of the IRA and its preposterous newspaper seem laughable and even quaint, we shall ignore at our peril the threat that this body poses to law and order in Northern Ireland and in the Republic… It looks as if many more bombs, North and South, will shatter the silence of the night before the year is out.”

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed Nevin..just about the first casualty named in Lost Lives (McKittrick & others) is Mr Scullion from the Clonard area in 1966. Indeed it was not actually known he had been shot until after he had been buried.
    Neverthless the UVF murder gang were looking for another (he is named in several sources) person from the area who had taken a prominent part in the Easter commemoration.

    With the Peter Ward killing (by Gusty Spence later in the year) I think it simplistic to say that the 1966 Commemoration made loyalists resort to murder. A manifestation of “Croppy Lie Down” in 1966 but are people going to resort to murder because the Easter Rising is commemorated up North.
    There would appear to be alternatives.
    Dont celebrate the Easter Rising because it “might” endanger the participants nationalists/republicans in general or risk plunging the communities into decades of conflict.
    The other way is a cross community (a necessarily sanitised version) commemoration. Even for a supporter of political correctness like myself….that would be “political correctness gone maaaaaaaaaaaaad”. Risible.

  • Munsterview

    Fitz : “The Ulster Covenant and Easter Rising are not a shared history. Well intentioned attempts to make them so are neither workable or desirable…..”

    First off may I also express my thanks also for your reporting back, it is making a worth while contribution to the debate.

    Second I am in full agreement with your above statement that these events are not shared history and each event has negative connotations for the other tradition. I received my first invite to speak at an event sponsored by the C of I in my early twenties where I was speaking of the ‘ Hidden Ireland, it’s culture and traditions.

    The Conference organizers were aware of my extended families centrality to historical events from the fifteen hundreds and the fall of the house of Desmond on. When I cite things like the latter to give authority and context to my views here in slugger, they were met with derision and one have only to look at some of the early exchange and the more recent maskey ones to see the ethos behind that.

    I have never advocated a ‘Coremella’ approach to these things. What I have always advocated is what I said in my last public engagement in a cultural center just one week ago when speaking on Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Jacobite and Wild Geese tradition. I said in the course of that talk …….

    ” our Ireland of Catholic, Nationalist, and Republican traditions, should now be generous enough not only to remember the Irish Dead of this romantic era, but the soldiers of WW1 also. In doing so we should acknowledge that many of these WW1, dead sincerely loved Ireland. They died believing that they were fighting to advance Ireland’s cause and should be honored and remembered for that ”

    I am not just saying these things for the benefit of ‘reasonable’ Unionism, I have been saying them at cultural events for over forty years and for the record, I never had these views disputed or contested by Senior Republicans. The attitude to of most of the latter as I have found over the years is ” poor mislead devils, the waste of it all etc, what a difference it would have made to the Fight for Freedom if some of these were available here at home etc.”

    There is an immediate dichotomy arising here for the organizers of these Commemorations, The Ulster Divisions fought and died to preserve Unionism, most of the Munster Fusileers fought and died believing that they were advancing Home Rule. In post Independence Ireland the commemorations took place mainly in C of I Churches and circles, resulting in the fact that such commemorations were seen as organized by the remnants of Southern Unionism.

    A number of other factors also fed into this, most of the ex-service men, given their treatment had enough of armies and were indifferent to the commemorations. In the new Free State because the leading figures involved in these commemorations had Southern Unionist associations, attendance was seen as siding with these people who by in large had also sided with the British Army in Ireland during the war of Independence.

    Consequent to this the Nationalist quotient, philosophy, ideology and politics of the commemorations in the South has long been squeezed out and misrepresented. Even purely within the parameters of the commemorations per se, once the Nationalist quotient is reclaimed, as I expected to be, then this is going to alienate and differentiate those of Unionist politics who see the deaths on their side as being to considerate the Union.

    In short all the contradictions inherent in the reasons for North and South donning uniforms will arise again and cannot be fudged. These clarifications ironically will cause divisions, not reconciliation’s.

    However despite the vested interests involved, in the South at any rate we have achieved enough political maturity and tolerance to have a dispassionate examination of the attitudes of those pro Irish involvement in the First WW, Politicians, Officers and soldiers alike. Where these people genuinely thought they were advancing the cause of Ireland and Home Rule, their reputations will be rehabilitated, and rightly so !

    Other issues arise from this such as the parity of esteem between the sacrifices of Republicans who died at home in the Fight For Freedom and those who died in British Uniform in WW1 but that is a separate subject to be teased out.

    While there is little chance of orthodoxy in the idealogy for these commerations, that should not prevent orthopraxis as far as the commerations per se are concerned, both in relation to the First WW1, dead and the those of the Easter Rebellion and the continuing War of the First and Second Defense of the Republic.

  • fjh, I though ‘croppies’ was a reference to a United Irishman hairstyle fashion statement. Up North, the leading UI proponents appear to have been middle-class Presbyterians whereas in places like Loughguile Catholics were loyalists.

    Quite a bit of political violence here has been representative: Loyalist murder gangs target Catholics (mainly Nationalist) whereas Republican murder gangs target state police/security forces (mainly Protestant).

    The O’Neill-Lemass meeting in 1965, not so much that it took place but the way it was done and the timing, created a lot of problems for O’Neill. The 1966 commemorations added to the pressure and presented opportunities for the Paisleyites and the (new) UVF to create a range of actions from mischief to murder.

    I don’t like sanitisation but there’s scope for anticipation, sensitivity and toleration. Sometimes events in one place can have an unintended knock-on effect elsewhere. If folks have some forewarning of what is happening and why I think that can take a bit of the sting out of it. They do say it’s good to talk.

  • MV, I think it was some museums that were accused of sanitisation. Your approach appears to have been somewhat similar to the Corrymeela one where there’s an opportunity for people to come together to tell and exchange stories from the recent and the distant past.

    Management of the encounters requires sensitivity. I recall an event at Corrymeela that I was told about later when the participants almost came to blows. One party was a group of well educated Nationalists from Dublin; the other working class unionists from East Belfast. The Dubs easily dismissed the points being made by the Belfast ones so you can see where frustration could lead to raised tempers. I understand the session was brought to a premature close and the next day the organisers, which may well have included Ray Davey, decided to go for reverse role play. The stumbling efforts at getting the accents created a bit of humour, diffused the earlier tensions and a productive exchange followed.

  • Munsterview


    One of the main problems in discussing the recent and ongoing if albeit scaled down conflict in the North is contextualization.

    As I have pointed out on another thread, the International Academic and Military communities in the North Atlantic Treaty Area regard the conflict in Ireland as unambiguously satisfying the criteria of a full blown Low Intensity War in respect of the Insurgents, The Irish Republican Army and the Counter Insurgents, the British Army.

    There is no doubt what so ever in the British Army and Establishment that they were involved in Counter Insurgency Operation within the context of a Low Intensity War, both groups trumpet their expertise on the matter and a quick google will throw up 400,000 results for this war.

    Even a cursory examination of some of these results will disclose the special security courses and conferences on the subject with special references to Northern Ireland and likewise the number of top ranking British Army scheduled to address International gatherings at university conferences on the workings of Low Intensity War as practiced in Northern Ireland.

    Why then is there a constant denial and a resorting to nomenclature of camouflage like the ‘Troubles’ to mask that a full scale Low Intensity War took place and is still ongoing after over forty years ?

    This at very least intellectual dishonesty!

    It is however far from hypocrisy : most attempting to distract and stymie this debate know all too well the reality of the existences and practices of Low Intensity War, some were probably participants in it, while in some of the security forces involved and others were cheer leaders for Low Intensity War then and now.

    Rather it is a calculated insult to the intillegence of the average poster from those who consider themselves ‘superior minds’ to us lesser mortals in that, in this internet age that they think that can still run their all too obvious agendas beneath the level of awareness.

    The battle for hearts and minds is a critical part of Low Intensity War counter Insurgency Operations and slugger to such individuals is not a place for exposing facts but rather a place where facts must be controlled, denied and buried using a whole panoply of devices from the “shouldn’t we all forget the past and learn to live for the future” schools to the pseudo posters like the prime example exposed here last year.

    Within the context of Insurgency, Counter Insurgency Operations and Low Intensity War there are real answers to what happened and why. External to this framework all is disinformation, distortion and distraction.

  • MV, there are lots of real answers to be found amongst the relationships between the Governments, the secret services, the military, the police, the paramilitaries and the people. I’ve stumbled upon a few of them.

    Unfortunately, the appeasement strategies of London and Dublin have elevated the demands of loyalist and republican paramilitary godfathers above the needs of ordinary decent people be they Unionist, Nationalist or Other. It’s going to take a considerable period of time to remove this blight from the political landscape.

    Trumpeting expertise sounds a bit like disinformation in itself even though a measure of expertise will have been acquired.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Thanks for the compliments although I have to say that Im not entirely convinced that I was adding to the debate. So the comment that I am making a worthwhile contribution is very welcome.
    I took the view that as Gladys Ganiel had advertised the lectures here then reporting on them was not intrusive or a betrayal of those attending. The themes of history, church relations, politics even conflict resolution are of interest to me. And several years ago extended family members dabbled in the Corrymeela experiment.One is still a figure within Corrymeela.
    Im slightly ill at ease ith the fact that all of the other participants are people of Faith, peace people veterans, people who I candidly say are the best in our communities.
    But essentially they frame their involvement in terms of Christianity. I frame my approach in a wider historical sense.
    Its rather like Astronomy versus Astrology.
    Or Science versus Creationism.
    Not fair comparisons but the best I can come up with at midnight on a Friday.
    They might have regarded or assumed me as “one of their own” in Week 1. They possibly accepted my Devils Advocacy in Week 2. Week 3 they might have worked out that I am actually Satan himself.
    I sense a certain irritation with my contributions at group meetings or plenary sessions. I am saying stuff that is outside their world view.
    For example I visibly shocked attendees by suggesting that shared history was not possible…. Or desirable.

    To some extent the Ulster Covenant balanced the Easter Rising in terms of the lectures. Two proclamations allegedly out of date which I think cant really be shared.
    Btw in mentioning Croppy Lie Down…..Nevin is right in referencing 1798 hairstyle but my reference was the Orange song from near that time and the placards on display at Drumcree a decade ago.
    As an aside Id say 1798 was three rebellions…..the United Irishmen philosophy in the North, a rural jacquerie in South Leinster and an old fashioned national and religious event in the West (ironically led by French troops active in suppressing Catholic revolt in France).

    But the “meat” of this series of lectures is WW1 and the Somme. Munsterview has already touched on this. With respect Im not going to make any comments until I hear how next weeks lecture will go. I suspect we all know the general direction it will take. And with respect Id ask that “Somme-type” comments are witheld so that I can first state (next week) my initial thoughts on that lecture.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    On the subject of Museums……yes Im not sure that they facilitate the study of History as well as they should.
    I referenced the Ulster Museums “1798” Exhibition. But Id add the Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra and the Ulster-American Folk Park near Omagh….as sanitised. For example an American friend thought there was no real critique of Ulster settlers in America. No real critique of their role in the Confederacy for example. Id add that the “add-ons of recent years, Archbishop Hughes of New Yorks cottage for example has no real critique of his views on Race.
    Hovel and Landowner cottages dont really say much (other than an educated guess from the names of the people) about who lived there. Or the Orange Lodge (Cultra?) says little about the Orange Order.
    Likewise Ive been on those Belfast bus tours ..both “red” and “blue” (something Belfast folks should do) and “necessarily” the tours are sanitised versions of our history.
    People search for a common denominator which too often is not really there.
    One of the most interesting features of our post-conflict era has been the opening of Republican museums. …a loyalist one is also anticipated. Predictably republicans got theirs off the ground first and I have visited three.
    Clearly they are not a “balanced” view of history.
    But for the visitor and indeed any serious student Id say a visit to one followed by a visit to a loyalist one (Ive not had any opening date but understand that they are getting advice from republicans)…..would actually be a more rewarding experience than on of our “official” custudions of our History.

  • Nunoftheabove

    There appears to be an assumption that a shared/consensual approach to remembrance in NI necessarily represents an ethical one; for me, that can’t be true if the ethics are being defined within the parameters of some mushy version (or indeed any version) of christianity – itself something of a stranger to – if not an outright enemy of – decent ethical principles.Likewise, an agreed historical narrative that is purely bipartisan (un/rep) is unlikely ultimately to be other than ahistorical.

  • granni trixie

    MV: at the very least, would you not agree that there have been/are struggles over the definition of “the situation in NI”. So yes,”low intensity war” and all that goes with that may give clarity to some with certain agendas but to me it is misleading as it does not at all cover the complexity. From a Republican persepctive it probably suits for instance as it legitimises what to others like myself was immoral.

    FJH, I’m with you as regards mixing in circles where you have a feeling that you are out of kilter with the world view of the majority. It is a gift! For surely the main reason for such ‘encounters’ is to reach understanding of each other. ie nobody has to be “right”. Keep up the reporting – extends the cr work.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    In my lifetime Ive not seen any evidence that people of Faith are less ethical than people without faith. Thats a different discussion. If the people I meet weekly are guilty of anything….it is that they are guilty of being nice and of being patently good people. The majority of us get to meet nice/decent/good people on a regular basis….at home, at work socially. They tend to make our own lives better and less cynical. The people who rarely meet such people are the real losers.
    Granni Trixie
    Yes Im finding that I have undoubted skills as a reporter. I perhaps should have been a journalist. Its surprisingly easy 😉
    Im not exactly sure that I am helping their understanding. If the Irish School of Ecumenics hosts a series of lectures on “Ethical Remembering” for…primarily “their usual suspects” of churchy Corrymeela people (and I mean that kindly) who see things only within a Christian framework……then the ideas from the floor ending up on the “white board” will eflect a particular mindset.
    Incidently these ideas on the board are then published next week in a Feedback handout.
    Mrs FJH1745 pointed out to me just this morning that some of the things Ive said dont actually make it to “Feedback”..hmmm

    The 2 hour session takes the form of a plenary ession and then we divide into maybe six groups of five to discuss a question. There is an audible groan when people realise that I am in their group. In order to get a point across (I have no allies) there is no place for me to hide (not that I want to) so it means I rattle off five or six points that are maybe not what they want to hear.

  • Nunoftheabove


    “In my lifetime Ive not seen any evidence that people of Faith are less ethical than people without faith”

    My point is that there is little ethical value in the beliefs of the christian religion and regard with suspicion any assumption or presumption that it is innately ethical, whether being brought to this issue or most others that I can think of.

    I am pleased that you agree with me that most people we meet in most walks of life are decent and, objectively speaking, moral; you noticeably didn’t bring yourself to say that any part of that related to whether they were believers or not. Moral normality, decency and ‘niceness’ in the human do not require religious foundations and as such these qualities therefore cannot be said to derive from them. To the contrary.

    Peace, man 🙂

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Im just not into the default position of many Sluggerites/Sluggerettes of knocking anyone who holds a religious belief and masquerading it as liberalism. Im sure that is not your intent.

  • fjh, I was at a Corrymeela gathering back in 1996 following the Portadown/Drumcree debacle. I had some information that didn’t fit ‘the narrative’ and, guess what, the organisers didn’t want to know, the details didn’t go up on the wall chart.

  • Nunoftheabove


    People can believe in talking snakes, singing horses, UFOs and pink pixies in the sky for all I care; I will respect their right to do so but won’t lower myself to admire their faith per se or admire them because they say thay they are a person of faith – I find the idea that I ought to basically ridiculous.

    Similarly, they can do as they please to workship their make-believe creators etc but I will not tolerate their views being taken for granted in public debate and when their views begin to inform aspects of public life – politics, law and education etc then I will defend absolutely my right and that of others to oppose that, likewise the irrational nature of their beliefs and practices and the innate wickedness of some of it. If they regard challenge on that as ‘offensive’ or interpret that as me knocking them, well, tough – that’s their problem.

    This is a precautionary one as I don’t care for the idea of the boundaries of decent ethics being determined by the religious and will object to it if that’s the intention.

  • fjh, I found this in the News Letter:

    “Nelson McCausland said that a number of “arm’s length bodies” sponsored by his department would “typically have a role in responding to requests to commemorate various events of historical importance to our community”.

    And he revealed he intended to meet with them to “explore the scope for adopting a strategic approach to such requests”.

    Mr McCausland also said he had “asked departmental officials to draw up an options paper on the approach to the commemoration of anniversaries”.

    He added: “We are approaching a decade of Northern Ireland anniversaries from the centenary of the Ulster Covenant in 2012 through to the centenary of the establishment of Northern Ireland in 2021.””

    I wonder how DCAL is going to involve itself in the 1916 Rising commemorations in Northern Ireland. If public funds are to be used then it would appear that the equality card will be played and this decade of commemorations will have to be treated equally.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Nevin….I must emphasise that I have not looked at the Feedback. It is just something my wife said. Ultimately I care more about the fact that I say what I want. Nothing I say will really change their world view but it will at least expose them to a view outside their norm.
    There is indeed a narrative to all this.

  • test test test

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Theres a certain choreography already in place and perhaps this series of lectures is part of the process or maybe its a conspiracy theory too far.
    But its hard to see Nelson McCauslands DCAL (or indeed any other DCAL) rallying around an Easter Rising commemoration or being allowed to rally round an Ulster Covenant commemoration.
    This will be presented as an opportunity to rally round something in which both communities and both parts of the island have a “shared” History.
    Let the Phoniness Begin!
    Gin and tonics and vol au vents all round.
    Those of us who have been around the “community relations block” a few times know exactly how these things work.

  • Drumlins Rock

    FJH, would love to be there to watch you play devils advocate, I usually cant resist doing so myself if no-one else is putting the different viewpoint, O know there are arrangements going ahead for next years loyalist comerations, as for the Easter rising, it should be celebrated/commerated in context north of the border, as it is a different story on this side.

    Dont suppose your going to slugger awards? think we could have some good chats, and invite MV along too!

  • fjh, there will always be attempts at manipulation, including cherry-picking of the 1998 Agreement. Let’s have a quick look at Co-operation North which morphed into Co-operation Ireland.

    Here are some quotes from “Seizing the Moment Proposals for a New Era in North-South Co-operation” [August 2007]

    “As argued by Liam O’Dowd cross-border working “holds out the prospect of a ‘positive-sum’ politics which is outward-looking and capable of revealing existing and new areas of common interest which cross the internal and external borders of Northern Ireland””

    In the context of 1998 these ‘external borders’ include what lies beyond NI eg NI’s relationship with the rest of the these islands. I’ve argued previously that this requires a form of shared sovereignty and the merger of Strands 2 and 3. Cooperation Ireland recognises the need for development N-S and E-W but has failed to deal with the problem that it’s very name and its activities are in the Strand 2 domain.

    The Group of ‘actors’ is ‘coordinated by Co-operation Ireland and its current members include: Centre for Cross Border Studies; RobinWilson, an independent policy analyst; Community Relations Council; IBEC/CBI Joint Business Council; Institute of Public Health; Institute for British-Irish Studies; Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation; North South Rural Voice; Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Rural Community Network’.

    I think this group, Nelson McCausland and the Irish School of Ecumenics in their different ways inhibit the development of a shared future for folks here in NI.

  • Munsterview

    Granni T : ” MV: at the very least, would you not agree that there have been/are struggles over the definition of “the situation in NI”. So yes,”low intensity war” and all that goes with that may give clarity to some with certain agendas but to me it is misleading as it does not at all cover the complexity. From a Republican perspective it probably suits for instance as it legitimizes what to others like myself was immoral……”

    The first issue that of separation of cause and effect !

    There is little to be gained form taking a series events over the years and examining these on a ‘what aboutery’ basis : that too is but playing into the concealment propaganda of the ‘Hidden Hands’ that directed and controlled the Low Intensity War.

    It is not rocket science Frank Kitson as a mid ranking serving British Army officer, at a Rand Security Conference laid out the outlined the Operative Practices of Low Intensity War as far back as 1962 and I have cited this document and where it could be sourced time and again.

    Recognizing the template used and the mechanical way that The Low Intensity war was conducted is a separate matter from the morals and ethics of how all the participants conducted themselves as Insurgents and Counter Insurgents.

    There is very little in the public domain regarding how the Insurgents conducted their activity. The principle Insurgents, The Irish Republican Army did not just come out of nowhere, the republicans of Joe Cahill that returned to the IRA in their hundreds post 69 and took back the Republican Movement and Army from those who had hi-jacked it, came from and had been encultured into Insurgency activity.

    These 1956 Republicans linked unbroken with the 1940 generation, who linked back to the 1916…22 Republicans who in turn linked back to the IRB who were the hidden hand in the Land Wars of the 1880’s who in turn learned their Insurgence craft from the 67 Fenian, every local area of which had an experienced American Civil War Veteran Officer attached to help with Organization and training.

    The IRB founded prior to the American Civil War, In Ireland had continuity with the children of the 98 Insurgents and theses in turn could trace their own Native Insurgency back through the Militancy of the Tithe Wars etc.

    The pilot of one of the arms smuggling ships was a direct descendant of the man who piloted in a Fenian Gunrunner vessel prior to the 67 Rising and many of the families involved in that operation could too cite either direct descent or relatives involved in the earlier event.

    Such people will not go rushing to Eamon O’Malley with their story at the end of a campaign or because the majority of their comrades have taken a decisions that they do not agree with. They know their place in the scheme of things, service to the Republican ideal is all they are interested in and how that advances Irelands cause.

    The GFA is not a closed book, it is but a chapter in a very long book indeed and one where more pages and chapters are being constantly added. The ‘pike has been removed from the handle and hidden again in the thatch for now, that is all’.

    No one can say with certainty that politics will work even in the intermediate term. The only common denominator among all shades of Unionist politics is a desire to prevent Sinn Fein gaining the position of first Minister and all political considerations are secondary to that.

    This may be politics as normal for the Six Counties but it is not Normal Politics.

    Neither can anyone say with certainty that Militant Republicanism will not expand and become more effective. Only real politics and real results can will make the ethos where such militancy is possible, redundant.

    No one can say that the last widespread Insurgency that see events on all parts of this Island, but principally in the Six Counties, will be the last widespread conflict. In the early seventies when guns were desperately needed for defense of Northern areas, a young Republican send to plead with a certain Old Republican for weapons he was known to have. There was half a century between them in age.

    The old man listened to the pleas and arguments before ending the discussions with …..
    ” Ye will get a cup of tea and a bite to eat and that is all, ye have got what ye are going to get, something will be needed to start up again if this campaign fall through ”

    Irish Insurgents in the Republican phase go back not to 98 and Vinegar Hill but to Valley Forge and the American Revolution of 1776 when General Sullivan, the man who steeled George Washington spend time discussing with his Irish Officers how military they could advance Irelands Freedom once the American Revolution.

    Even in coming years you will see very little of the detailed operational aspects of the Military aspects of the Insurgency revealed, that is not Republican culture. However the Brits are different, as I have said a google with the right search particulars will yield 400,000 results and anyone with patience to further research through these results can determine for themselves what the Brits were about.

    They are selling their Low Intensity War, Counter Insurgency experience world wide and are not shy about advertising their claimed skills at individual or institutional levels. Turgon, Campbell et al have had over fifty articles topics such as this thread to support and justify the Counter Insurgency Operations of the Low Intensity War. It would only take me five short referenced articles to prove what went on here and place the NI, LIW here in a historical and International context.

    However I will not expect invites from Mick to do just that any time soon. For all the avowed plurality of slugger and the reconciling of Corremeela etc, this would be a bridge too far for Unionists ethos to admit at this time.

    Meanwhile the Brits are free to Market their experiences of Counter Insurgency War abroad while here at home in slugger those who supported the Counter Insurgency Operations of the Low Intensity War do a more sophisticated version of ‘maskey polemics’ to deny that such Low Intensity War ever took place. Without a correct template to set these events against and a political prism to view them through, then the LIW can be presented as a series of mindless insurgent atrocities. That suits such people just fine !

    That is the propaganda intent of these people. The morals and ethics of that war and of how Insurgents and Counter Insurgents conducted their operations are another issue and of course can be subject to discussion, debate and judgement, but only inside the template of a Low Intensity War operations and all that entailed, can such a discussion have any value.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Nevin….The Golden Halo

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Drumlins Rock…..No I am not going to the Slugger Awards. Slugger is not transparent enough for me.

  • Drumlins Rock

    can you not just sit in the wings and heckle?

    The worst thing you can do is actually take the awards seriously enough to boycott them!

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    The fourth lecture. The Somme. To some extent it has always been the case that the Somme would be centre stage at these lectures. The Ulster Covenant and the Easter Risin do not pass the cross community test. There have been efforts in recent years to produce an image of the Somme and WW1 as something that can unite people.
    How true is that?
    Well of course the Ulster and Irish Volunteers shared the privations of trench warfare…the blood, the gas, the rats and the dysentry. But so did the Germans and French.. They had a common enemy…the Germans in the trenches across No Mans Land.
    But lets be frank…they did not have a common cause. They were in the trenches to demonstrate to the british their loyalty….on a promise and/or lie that Britain would be sympathetic to the Home Rule or anti Home Rule cause.
    A shared result to the War? I dont think so. While the Ulstermen returned to marching bands and flags and parades, the rest of the Irish returned to …..defeat.
    The legacy in the Republic has been to airbrush the service of the Irish Volunteers from Irish history.
    Service in WW1 had little to do with the ethos of the Irish nation as proclaimed in 1916. Even as the “Royal” British Legion was supplementing Irelands early welfare service.
    In the North the opposite was the case. Underplayed in the South and overplayed in the North. Exaggeration in both parts of the Ireland.
    Loyal Ulster had proven itself…but was remarkably unenthusiastic about doing it all again in 1939 in the only part of the “united Kingdom” where there was no conscription.
    Ah yes….everybody was on the border waiting invasion or dealing with the enemy within, engaged in reserved occupations and firewatching (for non existent fires) on the Sirrocco and Mackies rooftops.

    Or put it another way having proved their “loyalty” in 1916 there was no real need to do it all again.

    But these two myths (North and South) have given rise to a third myth. The North and South myths were in the name of the greater good, political expediency and “nation building”, The new myth……it was a shared experience…is also for the greater good and political expediency.

    Asked how we “should” commemorate the Somme…the answer is that the Golden Halo of the usual supects in the conflict resolution and cmmunity relations industries will present Department of Culture with a programme. Hurrah.

    But to those with any affection for History, this has to be a concern. Well intentioned people intend…..yet again to subvert Historical Truth for a greater good.
    On several occasions it has bee put to me that there is more than one version of The Truth. Even if we say……”what about the Holocaust?.is there two truths there” and for sake of argument accept that there is more tha one Truth in Irish history………we have to face the fact that theres only one form of Honesty…..thats the real question.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Oh just to add….slight delay getting home as the top of Clifton Street was blocked by four PSNI land rovers and they seemed to be arresting two people, already in white forensic suits. Hopefully a breakthru in dealing with dissident activity in North Belfast.

  • Brian

    “we have to face the fact that theres only one form of Honesty…..thats the real question.”

    Honesty? How about admitting that the PIRA campaign was a complete and utter failure, and that it was viewed by the majority of the nationalists in the 6 counties during that period as wholly counterproductive if not immoral?

  • fjh, agreed. There are those who are interested in the history of the Great War and its impact locally and there are others who view it as a vehicle of reconciliation either of the people of Northern Ireland or of the whole island.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Indeed the IRA campaign was viewed in exactly as you describe.
    I have made that point many times……and made the point that it has been retrospectively endorsed.

  • Brian


    I don’t necessarily agree that SF’s increased share of the nationalist vote means people are retrospectively endorsing the PIRA campaign. There are many reasons for how people vote, mainly their perceived self interest. Hell, I even know a few who vote SF just because it is the party that will piss of the hardcore unionists the most.

    A poll asking voters whether they retrospectively endorse the campaign is the closest thing you could get to knowing if that is the case, but the farther away from the ceasefire you go the less meaning it would have.

    My post was directed at MV, who can’t seem to write a post that doesn’t end up going on about those who were out in 67, or the men of 98, or Kitson’s 50 year old book on counterinsurgency.

  • Brian

    (got caught off)

    My post was directed at MV, who can’t seem to write a post that doesn’t end up going on about those who were Out in 67, or the Men of 98, or Kitson’s 50 year old manual on counterinsurgency-as if any of that has anything to do with what’s going on now let alone what happened the last few decades.

  • Munsterview

    Fitz : “Indeed the IRA campaign was viewed in exactly as you describe.
    I have made that point many times……and made the point that it has been retrospectively endorsed……”

    Is that not the way of most armed conflicts such as that of all the African Liberation struggles and that of the ANC in particular. The the general ethos of State power that approved and condoned the beating to death of Steven Biko was no different to that confronted by Bobby Sands.

    While the Irish Insurgence and Counter Insurgency aspects of the Low Intensity War are now seen and accepted for what they were by a sizable majority of the Northern Ireland population, and increasingly significant members of the Southern population outside of the traditional support base, the official line in of the Irish and British Establishments is that the Insurgency was a campaign of mindless violence simplicity.

    The following while a personal experience, in in-keeping with the thread topic!

    I am a bit behind on the threads, I was arrested yesterday morning at my town student bedsit and taken to the local Garda Station on a two year old warrant. I could have been arrested at any time on that in the dozens of times I was stopped at garda checkpoints or in any of the public events that I have been taken part in. They always called to my country home when they knew that I was not there.

    The area of the bedsit is a nice middle class area, mainly older families. However reminder that Limerick has the highest crime rate of any comparable city on these Islands so the area also have relatives of some of the criminal families and they subject to garda surveillance with occasional house visits and arrests.

    When booked in by the duty station sergeant I immediately informed her that I regarded the arrest as being done for political purposes and consequently I was as of my the moment of my arrest on hunger and thirst strike. More important I told her that I had not taken my medication and consequently I needed a doctor with immediate effect.

    The words cardiac and police station can mean days lost in court to GP so not surprisingly there were none available to attend until the afternoon. The duty sergeant went upstairs with the problem, I was taken to Limerick Regional Hospital. Four hours on a trolly followed with a Garda Sergeant and Guard in street gear, florescent vests etc present at all times.

    I got a full MOT including E-Ray and blood but refused alleviating medical intervention. Once that was over rather than occupy a trolly over night against medical advice I singed a hospital discharge. I was then taken sirens blaring from Limerick hospital to Cork City Circuit Court. There I informed the judge of my hunger, thirst and off medication actions.

    I also pointed out to him that on the Circuit adjourned court case two years before, I had written to the court saying that I have a pre arranged legal meeting ( I only got a few days notice of the re-entered case, my legal meeting had been set for weeks) I also told him that as these cases were politically motivated I believed that the solution were political rather than legal.

    I also pointed out and put on record that a letter informing me of a new date rather than a bench warrant was enough to have secured my court attendance.

    The Judge Concerned was not appointed to the Circuit Court because of his ability to embarrass his political patrons and he knew the consequences of having an experienced campaigner creating a stink with a hunger and thirst strike in the middle of an election and in Micheal Martins back yard in particular. The Court appearance was over in ten minutes, a new appearance date was set and ten minutes after that I was sitting down to evening tea in the Imperial hotel.

    Two guards and a car tied up for the entire day from a city with the biggest crime rate for its size for any city in these Islands and this is the best use that can be made or Garda resources?

    There is however a very sinister intent in all of this, to now I was known in the community as the ‘nice man who was doing something out at the University : now when I canvass by neighbors for Sinn Fein, I am the man that was publicly attested and carted off.

    These things do not just happen, they are deliberately planned and put into effect. This starts with the Secretary Of The Department of In-Justice and is coordinated from the top down. If all the man-hours and resources that went into yesterday morning’s ‘stroke’ were added up, I doubt if there is much change out of 50K left.

    This is how State resources are spend in a daily basis in this election combating Republicans and maintaining institutional corruption for the benefit of having a society that the likes of ‘Brian’ and all the usual suspects are comfortable with and in !

    Fianna Fail, Fine Gael know this State unending political war against Republicans is ongoing.

    Labour sure as hell do, all the ruling elite of the party were subjected to the same regime during their own Sinn Fein / Sinn Fein ‘The Workers Party’/ The Workers Party and even in their Democratic Left days. Now that they are part of the establishment, they approve, the State is preserving their order.

    This is the same State excrement as the Southern State have always gone on with against people like me that are opposed to the system. However as I also had my first full free medical MOT with none of the usual charges,or waiting list, for 2011, I cannot summons up the usual annoyance.

    In fact am seriously considering sending the station duty sergeant a bunch of flowers!

  • Munsterview

    Brian : “My post was directed at MV……”

    Are you a covert Fianna Fail?

    It certainly sounds like it Michael Martin’s mantra is here we are, never mind how we got there ( or that I was at the cabinet table for fourteen years) its going forward that counts.

    Look up their section that says ‘that was then and this is now’ and you can do a ‘cut and paste’ from that aspect their arguments, it will save you quite a bit of keyboard work!

  • I might get a chance later today to post about weeks 5 and 6. But I see theres a meeting at City Hall Belfast today to look at historic centenaries.
    Certainly seems that the choreography is in place….whether we like it or not.