Roundup of Easter Rising remembrances

Centennial commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising are now in full swing with the arrival of the Christian holy day, though the actually 100th anniversary of the rebellion and subsequent execution of its leaders doesn’t begin until next month. Their are plenty of opinions and interpretations of these now century-old events: in Ireland, the U.K., the U.S. and throughout the world. Below is a sampling of what’s being said, which I’ll add to over the coming week. Blog subscribers should check back periodically, as such updates do not generate a new email. And please let me know if you come across a good piece that’s worth sharing. MH

Home rule could have led peacefully to independence

Former Taoiseach John Bruton writes that the limited political of home rule, passed in 1914, “could have led this part of Ireland (excluding Ulster) peacefully to the same fully independent position Canada enjoys today, had it not been derailed by the 1916 Rebellion, its aftermath, and the 1918 election result. … As a rule, compromise is good, killing is bad. Negotiation is better than coercion.”

100th anniversary of Easter 1916 rising 

The Seattle-based Socialist Alternative says, “Contrary to the mythology purported by today’s political establishment and mainstream historians, the “revolutionary period” of 1916 to 1922 did not give way to a positive outcome for working class people. What was created were two oppressive, sectarian states that failed to deliver for the needs of working class people, and still do to this day.”

The Irish Rebellion That Resonated in Harlem

Black intellectuals in the U.S. expressed solidarity with the rebellion against British rule, Matthew Pratt Guter writes in the New Republic. “The Irish in Ireland may well have been white, and their offspring in the New World might well be racist, but they were nevertheless engaged in the same struggle for human dignity, and their struggle might have meaningful consequences for the fight against Jim Crow at home and empire in Africa.”

Celebrating a nation’s birth, and praying for a rebirth in the church

Micheal Kelly, editor of The Irish Catholic, suggests that as the Irish commemorate “one of the major birth pangs of the Irish State, Catholics will be celebrating the resurrection of Christ and praying for a rebirth in the Church. Not a return to Christendom Irish-style – but a return to an attentive following of Christ … “

The Easter Rising, 100 years later

“The terrible history of the North of Ireland in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s must be acknowledged, and its connections to the violence of the Easter Rising are irrefutable,” Jennifer Keating and Colin MacCabe write in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But we should also consider the contemporary phenomenon of Islamist ideology that plays on a public display of violence and which cast a chilling new perspective last week in Brussels.”

Martyrs With Guns and the Easter Rising

Lawrence Downes also makes the connection to contemporary terrorism in his piece for The New York Times. “To watch old footage of the shattered city of 1916 is to be thrown, inescapably, into the present day, when martyr-armies, bombed rubble and bystander corpses are sickeningly abundant. Every new attack — every Paris, Istanbul, Brussels — makes it harder to feel anything but remorse about urban holy warfare.”

Easter Rising 1916: A noble act of revolt against tyranny that inspired world

“Critics have dismissed the Rising as an anti-democratic, violent event, condemned by the political class in Ireland at the time, and an action that gave succour to subsequent violent attempts to establish a sovereign Irish republic. That ignores the reality that British involvement in Ireland already lacked democratic legitimacy,” Chris Donnelly writes in the Belfast Telegraph. “…The Rising struck a blow against the idea of empire and imperialism, beginning a pattern repeated across the British Empire as the 20th century progressed.”

Ireland’s history lesson for Britain

An editorial in The Guardian says “the rising must also be seen as a watershed event in the history of Britain as well as Ireland. Irish independence in 1922 was the first body blow in the 20th-century break-up of the British empire, even if Ireland was always something of a special imperial case. Meanwhile, a century on, the rising can also now be seen as a precursor of the modern fracturing of the United Kingdom’s internal cohesion.”

1916/2016: A Proclamation for our age

The Irish Times has revised the 1916 proclamation for a new century for “all of those who love and identify with Ireland, from wherever they have come and wherever they may now live. We recognize that the history and future of Ireland belong to citizens who adhere to different political, spiritual and intellectual traditions.”