"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Nice work, but is it the answer?

"If we knew more about Ireland, the invasion of Iraq might never have happened."

Loach's film about the Irish independence war is being rubbished because it tells the other side of the occupation story

George Monbiot in The Guardian

"In the Times, Tim Luckhurst compares him - unfavourably - to Leni Riefenstahl. His new film is a "poisonously anti-British corruption of the history of the war of Irish independence ... The Wind That Shakes the Barley is not just wrong. It infantilises its subject matter and reawakens ancient feuds." I checked with the production company. The film has not yet been released. They can find no record that Luckhurst has attended a screening - and last night he refused to discuss the matter."

Full Article... The Guardian and Monibot.com

Dear George,

Your recent Guardian article highlighting the mainstream media's hostile reaction to Ken Loach's award winning film, 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley' was a much needed breath of fresh air. It is rare to read such a balanced critic of what is I'm sure, as I have yet to see it, an uncompromising look at recent British colonialism in Ireland.

My experience has been that British people, but more specifically English people, are relatively unaware of their historical influence in Ireland. I have on many occasions had to provide a brief history lesson to strangers who were unsure whether Ireland was part of the UK. And while I think it is essential that the colonisers should learn more about Ireland I am unconvinced that "the invasion of Iraq might never have happened" if history was remembered more clearly.

Here in Ireland where our history resonates not just through the stories of our parents and grandparents, but through daily events and still open wounds. The crimes of occupiers and resistance fighters are fresh in the mind of many and yet we as a country have obliged our services for the invasion of a foreign country with little sacrifice.

Clinical discussion of the Middle East is prominent here too. The cost in terms of Iraqi lives is often flippantly rationalised, in the surface thought of oil resource control, regional stability and home security. There seems to be something much deeper lacking than an awareness of our own brutality.

Yours sincerely,