From Irish Political Review: July 2006
Irish Commemoration Of The Somme
Your "Nelson's Pillar" column (26th June) is enthusiastic about the production by An Phost of stamps commemorating the Battle of the Somme.
The only criticism of that battle was on military grounds—a lot of losses for little ground gained. It would have been another matter, of course, had the stamps portrayed rotting corpses being devoured by rats instead of the sanitised gallantry which they do portray.
The Somme represents Imperial Britain's unprovoked aggression against Germany, and its extension of a continental conflict into a world war. Read the accounts by Connolly and Casement.
The glorification of that war would be distasteful at any time, but it is particularly so at this time when British Imperial aggression is on the rise again.
All this conceding to British war propaganda is designed, as your columnist says, to make friends with unionists. But they do not believe that you are sincere and I hope that they are right.
There are two ways of abolishing the border, and one of them is to re-enter the Imperial fold!
Protestant Ulster has held the British Empire close to its heart. All it got out of it was to lord it over the Catholics for a couple of generations. The recent war has wiped out that situation in such a way that it can never, ever return.
The best that can be hoped for is that now the Imperialist impulse will wither in Protestant Ulster. Pandering to it does no good. Protestant Ulster is largely apolitical. So the best thing to do is to leave it alone to gradually come to terms with the new political reality.
This letter was submitted to Daily Ireland on 26th June 2006.
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