The madness of being Irish

Here I am reading in horror about the senseless killing of journalist Lyra McKee.  And what am I upset about?  The New York Times writes that the event took place in “Londonderry.”  At least the Washington Post added “which some people call Derry,” and CNN datelined “Londonerry/Derry.”   If you have no idea why I’m distracted by a place name, consider yourself lucky, and not a victim of Irish madness.

A car burns after petrol bombs were thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, Thursday, April 18, 2019. (Niall Carson/PA via AP)

McKee’s last tweet was a picture of armored vehicles heading towards a crowd and a rising column of smoke.  She wrote, “Derry tonight.  Absolute madness.”  How ironic that she was shot shortly afterwards by two youths aiming at the police, near whom she was standing.

What was going on?  Monday is the anniversary of the 1916 Rising.  July 4 and Bastille Day rolled into one with all the emotions stirred up by a vision still not realized.

The police were raiding a Catholic neighborhood in Derry to flush out guns and other weapons they suspected the New IRA crazies intended to use on Monday.  As might be expected, the police were “welcomed” with crowds and firebombs.  The ceasefire that ended the Troubles is fragile.  You’ve probably heard about how the Good Friday agreement complicates the British madness called Brexit.  If Brexit puts border guards back between the Republic and the northern counties, they will provide a convenient target for crazies like the New IRA, as well as hurt the economies of both parts of Ireland.

Only crazies like the New IRA want violence to resume.  In the wake of Lyra’s killing, the overwhelming masses of Irish have turned out in mourning.  When the leader of the nationalist Sinn Fein party is pictured comforting the leader of the unionist DUP, who has come to a Catholic neighborhood in the solidarity of grief, one can see a glimmer of the sanity that will heal the Irish.  It is equally significant that they’re both women.



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