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McLaughlin's view on wars is a shallow one

SINN Fein MLA Mitchel McLaughlin recently stated that, when commemorating 1916 and the First World War, "we need to instigate a process where there is inclusive dialogue, discussion and ownership of the events of that period".

A more mature reflection on the events to be commemorated might allow the view that neither the First World War nor the 1916 Rising achieved very much. Ireland never got the promised Home Rule after more than 200,000 volunteers put their lives in mortal danger, with tens of thousands of them dying.

The Irish people got a war of independence, then a civil war, with thousands of people dying, and then poverty and economic stagnation amid trade wars with Britain.

When Mitchel McLaughlin tells us to claim ownership of the First World War and the Easter Rising, his position can only be a very shallow one, which fails to take account of the complete futility, endless suffering and false sense of freedom that never actually materialises, but is sufficient to get some young men to grasp a gun.

Mitchel McLaughlin might recall that this is what happened here in the north in living memory. There has to be room for the view that all war is, ultimately, proved to be fruitless.

When the commemorations start to reflect in a more discerning way on the true nature of war, then they will deserve our support.



Belfast Telegraph


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