Regarding Anotole Kaletsky’s Sept. 9 article, “As the chances of a U.K. split grow, the true costs become more clear“: As a citizen of the Irish Republic, I was disheartened to read his portrayal of “Europe’s most durable nation” [Britain] as one not to have suffered invasion, revolution or civil war in the past 300 years. For one thing, the article omitted the long civil war of Irish independence from English sovereignty.
The Act of Union of 1800 created a single governing entity, effectively turning the island of Ireland into part of, and under the rule of, Westminster. For almost 150 years, we were considered one and the same. The fight for independence in Ireland started very much as a civil war suffered inside U.K. borders, with some wishing to remain British and others seeking autonomy to rule the island as a separate country.
In 2016, the Republic of Ireland will celebrate its centenary of the Easter Rising Rebellion. While its inception seems distant, some repercussions are not: “The Troubles” were a dark time in our history fueled by those who sought bloodshed based on the nationality you were born into. There are still people alive missing family members and friends as a result.
It even drains into the 21st century. Although the vast majority of people now embrace each other in brotherhood, hatred and violence inherited from our lineage still show their antiquated faces — infrequently but still in the present day.
I feel if the reader does not recognize this significant and mournful period still present in the two islands’ collective memory, then they cannot fully appreciate the achievement of Scotland, should it wish to, achieving its independence peacefully. Whatever the outcome [of the referendum] may be, it demonstrates what can be accomplished in the modern era with effective diplomacy. It is a feat that truly testifies to how far we have all come from what we were.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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