Robert Kee: History of Ireland` – No Surrender` (Episode 2)

Nora Connolly 

copyright Kyz`s photostream

In episode two Robert Kee adroitly negotiates his way through a myriad of propaganda while separating myth from reality. This episode explains why modern Ireland became such a troubled and polarised nation. He does not pull his punches; atrocities are graphically outlined, making for uncomfortable viewing. Kee begins with the `Flight of the Earls` September 1607, when Hugh O`Neill and his entourage went into self imposed exile. O`Neill the last Gaelic/Catholic leader in Ireland, had after his rebellion with England, lost all authority in his own country. We are reminded that O`Neill was made an Earl by the English Crown, an example of what eminent Irish historian RF Foster calls “the Janus-face of Ireland”. When O`Neill departs, the enormous area of land under his possession in Ulster (hitherto the most Gaelic/Catholic region) was grabbed and forfeited to the English Crown. Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan and Armagh colonised or planted with largely Scottish settlers. Plantations had occurred in other parts of Ireland but this was the most successful because of its geographical proximity to Britain. Read more of this post

Realism and Religion

Andrew Calderwood

Image © Duke Human Rights Centre

For many people, religion will have a profound effect throughout their lives, often acting as a great healer of the soul. It will provide a positive influence in times of need and a rock of solace throughout times of pain and suffering. Equally, during periods of great plenty and fulfilment, the preaching of key messages, moral wisdom and the search for solidarity can be used as an unmatched medium in the step towards societal advancement.

Whether a fully fledged believer or an ardent atheist, the majority of society are likely to agree, that the cornerstones of religious preaching can set sound foundations when building towards a prosperous future in the pursuit of harmonious global relations. This positive underpinning, however, makes it an ever more bitter pill to swallow when recognising that the various religions that encompass our world appear inherently unable to co-exist side by side and assimilate themselves into a united society. Instead, radical religious leaders and sects appear intent on abusing religious ideology in the pursuit of objectives that are deemed as personally productive. Many demonstrate a lack of willingness to cooperate within the national and international arena and thus fail to contribute to the constructive progression of developments in cordial political dialogue.

Too often we see religious leaders or groups striving for dominance over another, or politicians using religious beliefs as a political vehicle to control the masses. We have also been witness to the oppression of groups and individuals who openly oppose the dogma of ruling political parties, or those who may be deemed undesirable or a danger to the status quo of power politics. Throughout history religion has been used as a tool to nurture the ‘Power Urge’ of groups and individuals, derived from the more basic urges of self-aggrandisement and self-assertion. The power urge can be translated through personal ambition, a quest for prestige or simply from a desire to profit from the work of others.[1)

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