Why half centenaries are deadlier than the decade of centenaries just about to begin…

FitzJamesHorse’s blog has great piece on history and human memory, not least on what living through a violent period of history reveals about ordinary life… You should really read the whole thing, but here’s his conclusion:

I believe that the present obsession with the Decade of Centenaries……..Ulster Covenant (1912), Easter (1916), Somme (1916), Partition (1922)………deflects from a Decade of Half-Centenaries…….the O’Neill Years (1963-70), the first murders of the modern Troubles (John Scullion and Peter Ward in 1966), the first Civil Rights march (Coalisland 1968), the Battle of the Bogside (1969), formation of SDLP (1970), Internment (1971),Bloody Sunday (1972) and Bloody Friday (1972). Too many to mention.

But realistically the decade of the half century commemorations are potentially more toxic than the decade of centenaries.

People will talk about dealing with……or handling the Past. I do not believe that we should try.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

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