Mudcat Café message #270002 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23852   Message #270002
Posted By: paddymac
01-Aug-00 - 11:23 PM
Thread Name: BS: Grit your teeth, the PIRA boys are out
Subject: RE: BS: Grit your teeth, the PIRA boys are out
Fionn - I must disagree with your assertion that NI is a democracy. In its present state, and since partition, I believe it can be seen as nothing other than an apartheid state. Such a socio-political entity can maintain a facade of democracy and tranquility only when the power disparity is overwhelming. Eventually comes what I call the "problem of parity", when the oppressed population approachs and achieves a critical mass (and awareness) and begins to demand an end to its oppression. This is not necessarily a numbers game, as is evident in a comparison of NI with the old South Africa and Rhodesia. As much as anything, it is a matured sense of fairness and determination to achieve it. It seems to me that where the power elite has been most barbaric, it is hardest for them to make room at the table for the oppressed. Perhaps it's a fear that they might then be treated the same way that they have treated the oppressed population. With particular regard to the island of Ireland, it seems to me that the Republic gives ample evidence of an innate sense of fairness, at least as between the "two traditions" that seem to dominate the arguement and discussion. I do not mean to imoly that the Republic is free of discrimination: it plainly is not, as the "travelling people" and recent refugees can attest. But I do believe it is sufficiently "open" to serve as a valid proof that the "two traditions" can in fact co-exist peacefully and profitably.

At slight risk of thread creep, this thing in the states that some like to call "the great experiment" was very greatly influenced in its early development by Ulstermen. It began with a great notion of democracy, but one which excluded everyone except white male landowners, mostly "WASPs". It has evolved tremendously, sometimes violently and sometimes rationally, to essentially universal suffrage. The problen now is getting people to exercise that sacred right and duty. NI has about 200 years of philosophical and political catching up to do before I could even begin to contemplate calling it a democracy.