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We can't deny what happened in our history

Published 09/04/2015

Much emotional and intellectual energy has been expended over the 1916 commemorations. On the one side, you have all those who damn all associated with the rising; on the other, you have those who would cast them as deities.

The fact is that they were who they were, they were of their time. A small group lashed out in a revolution that became part of the evolution of the Irish state.

In all colonial histories, the little guy gets belted about until he gets a chance to punch back. The British Empire was jolted by what happened. Its response was unimaginative, but predictable.

Later, Ireland watched blood spill in the War of Independence and the Civil War and then throughout the Troubles we saw several more generations follow in the shadow of the gunmen.

It is for the historians and other high-minded individuals to judge these events. We would love if the sufferings in the north had not occurred and if the civil rights movement had taken hold instead of the bomb and the bullet. Alas, this was not the case.

All we can do now is accept it for what it was and, without judgment, try to do better to ensure violence is not an option now or in the future. The sacrifices and choices made by others in the past are part of where we are now. We must do our best and, hopefully, leave things in better shape than we found them in.

GG O'BRIEN

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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