Monday, April 17, 2006

The Easter Uprising

Today marked an important day in Ireland - not only was it Easter Sunday but it was also the 90th anniversary of the 1916 uprising (information on it is easy to find but if you don't feel like googling this is one link:

The Garda and army were out in force both to control traffic and to prevent feared riots. There were speeches and all that like but I'd spent some time walking around and didn't stay in the town centre as chances were good we wouldn't be able to hear. I ended up on the parade route outside of Christ's Church.

It was an odd feeling watching the parade. They marched silently and I wondered if their display of military might was a symbol of national pride and patriotism or a bite of the thumb to the north. There was no dancing, no singing, and of all the military units only one was a band. Watching the troops march by, representing army, navy & air force, watching the guns roll out and the trucks rumble was a sombering experience. It took them almost an hour to pass us and it seemed that they would march by forever.

Catherine was so glad on the bus that her sons were finally able to see other people who were anti-war and anti-Bush. They had fully bought into the machismo and fairy glamour that shades the grim face of Death and the old lie: Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori.

Perhaps there was cheering, singing, dancing, bands in the central square, if so they had cleared by the time I had returned. Watching the troops roll past I wondered how many in the crowd still see only the romance of war; war is complex and war may sometimes be necessary but it is never glorious. Everyone is someone's son.


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