In an instant our civilised veneer cracked. From every politician and church leader, from every TV, radio and newspaper commentator, from every phone-in and chat show, from every workplace and pub conversation, poured all the old tribal cliches. All the defeats, wounds, hurts and humiliations suffered by our tribe were rehashed with relish. All our myths, misapprehensions, fears, bitterness and hatred of the Unionist/British tribe were superbly articulated.
The voices could have been Serb or Hutu, Croat or Zulu. There was enough rhetoric in the past week to sustain and justify our tribal warriors (IRA, INLA) in waging war on our tribal enemies for at least another 25 years.
I wonder if we nationalists will ever come to terms with the fact that the tribal demographics on this island irreversibly changed 300 years ago. Can we ever accept that the minority Unionist tribe are here to stay and have an absolute right to self-determination (that is, to remain separate from us)? If we can, the whole vista changes, and only then can there be any hope of peace on this island.
Glenageary, Co DublinReuse content