I want to say thank you to the Irish guy I ran into at the Catholic church awhile back. Actually, not that long ago really, sort of recent.
He will know and I'm sure he reads this blog.
Thank you, sincerely. You have a good heart, I believe you, to great extent, though it's not everything, and I believe in you, even if that sounds strange.
I always liked Irish eyes. I like both kinds, Protestant AND Catholic and I am not sure what the difference is. ;)
Also, thank you to the Irish guy in D.C. He will also know what I'm talking about.
Stay strong Irish. All of you, and thank you.
Oh! One more Irish shout out. To the Irish man who was worried about me when I was in Maryland. Saw eachother in the grocery store, and I know you were looking out for me. Thank you, sincerely. I think you were wearing a Notre Dame shirt but I can't remember. I just remember your face.
By the way, you guys are pretty smart. I appreciate your concern.
I should write about a woman I met while in Bainbridge, who was full Irish. She said one parent was Protestant and the other Catholic. She grew up in Ireland during "The Troubles". While we visited, she showed me all her books because she was a used book sales person. She brought out some old edition of "Ulster" something or other, wrapped in plastic and gave it to me. She wanted me to look at it. I didn't even take it out of the wrapper, because I was too busy eating.
She said she had a brother who was a policeman in Ireland. All the guys there would have to check under their cars to be sure nothing was there, like a bomb. One day, he was bombed somehow and lost a lot of time but still lived. He eventually quit because he was disabled. She, this Irish woman, kept saying, "Why would you want to take down the Catholic church?" and I said, "I didn't. I never did. But that's what some people thought and others just spread that around." When her husband got in, she asked me the same question and I answered the same way. She said she was Protestant but later I wondered what the whole thing was about because I didn't know why she brought out the Ulster book. I wondered if she had thought I would dig into it or something but I wasn't interested. I was more interested in my lunch and hearing her true story. So she said it was horrible. She said people were killing people left and right.
She said you HAD to KNOW what religion someone was, because if you ended up on the wrong side of town, you could get shot, bombed, or have multiple vandalisms. She said it wasn't like it is in the U.S., where people don't really care. I told her, maybe some people do care, but it's not as commonplace as it was in Ireland. I told her I felt the Irish would believe me, no matter what religion they were, simply because they understand that it's possible for anything to get out of hand and then reign it back in.
So she told me some different stories and then I asked her, my main question was, "So how was peace acheived?" She didn't say much but just said, "I guess everyone got tired of the fighting." I asked again, "But do you know how they did it?" I wanted to know exactly how it was done. I asked, "How did they get to peace?" and she said it took some time but they just called a treaty and quit. She said it's been that way for awhile. I guess if someone tries to spark something or start things again, the larger group reigns them in and doesn't allow anything to escalate and both sides do not support the ones who step out and do things on their own.
So anyway, it was really interesting. It was the first time I got to speak with someone who was really from Ireland and had personally experienced what they called "The Troubles".
I left, and that book was still in the wrapper. I am more interested in personal stories of survival, triumph and victory for all sides, and in how peace is accomplished. It was no small thing for the Irish. But they did it, and have maintained their treaty and they have a huge story to share with others, by their example.
When I think about some of the things I have gone through, and when I think some things seem to be impossible and I don't even understand what it's all regarding, I like to think about this.
And I'm not saying the Irish are better than any other group. I just think they have an amazing story of survival as a whole.
First, they had to fight to even stay alive and retain their culture to begin with and then when they did, they were still fighting to stay alive in the middle of new divisions, and conflicts which may or may not have been provoked. They could have killed eachother off, basically, and instead they agreed they had more in common than not, and they supported the right of all children to exist equally and to have a safe place to live.
They stopped taking out vengeance on their own and sought and prayed for, peace. And even if some people would want to spread disinformation to stir things up again, and even if some who have more power or money want to keep them at eachother's necks, they rose above it.
So they all went from being Gaelic or Celtic, and having music and a culture and language, to having others want to quash it altogether. They managed to retain not only their culture, but their beautiful music and at least some form of their language as well.
My father used to talk about Ireland and when I was a little girl, I remember asking "Why can't the Northern part have their own land or their own country?" and my father said he didn't know why not.
Whether it's having defined borders or not, everyone deserves to have a safe place to live and I do not support bullying or violence, of any kind, from anyone and I think it's a huge deal that these two major groups have been able to rise above it.
I know there are still tensions, and I read something in the news recently, about how the IRA believes there is some connectionn with UK or Libyan or something or other. I didn't read the whole thing but I know it's a new tension and I hope it is resolved peacefully.
At any rate, I have been wanting to share my experience with meeting this woman and I also wanted to thank a couple of people for some things, but it is not to negate what anyone and everyone else has done either.
There are a lot of other cultures and groups with similiar history and story.
It is just something I thought of, after seeing a lot of green shirts this afternoon. lol. :)
My father was always talking about survival stories and had a great admiration for those who were smaller in number or strength in some way, who made it against the odds. He talked about Northern Ireland a lot, and had sympathy, and he also talked about Israel and especially liked the story of the 6 or 7 day war. There was no country preference that I ever heard of, but I just remember hearing little stories here and there. He had a pretty good appreciation for other cultures, including latin or hispanic, because his step-mom was Mexican and she was and is the grandmother I've known most of my life. Then the next woman my grandfather married was Malay, so that was another culture too, that I learned a little bit about.