Tuesday, August 28, 2012

'Amity and Enmity' by Anthony D Buckley

I came across this 2010 article a few days ago, on the website of University College Dublin. I don't know the author - Anthony D Buckley - but I think that many of you will be interested in what he has to say. Even though he seems not to 'get' the fullness of Ulster-Scots heritage, and seems to not be aware of the upsurge in Reformed thinking within the younger generation, the general approach of the article - that the stereotyped "them against us" narrative of Northern Ireland is not the whole story - is very welcome. Here are a few excerpts:

'...Protestants and Catholics prided themselves on being good neighbours. This good neighbourliness manifested itself in all kinds of ways. For example, there was practical help between farmers, with the larger tasks being shared... there was also evidence of general good-neighbourly behaviour between people irrespective of sectarian division... in many other places, community relations have remained quietly strong, much as they were in the 1970s and earlier. It is merely that writers have stopped writing monographs of this kind. Subsequent studies have been inclined to concentrate on less peaceful places and to neglect the cooperation and amity that still exists and can readily be rediscovered...'

I also like his warning to government to not turn authentic local festivals into 'tourist attractions'. Local people inherit local tradition from previous generations - whereas visitors just consume it. You can read the whole article here.