WHY BRITAIN AND IRELAND COULD NEVER BE UNITED FROM CULTURAL AND HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE. Мозолев E.
WHY BRITAIN AND IRELAND COULD NEVER BE UNITED FROM CULTURAL AND HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE
Н.рук.: к.ф.н., доц. Доборович А.Н.
Н.рук.: к.ф.н., доц. Доборович А.Н.
Аспекты изучения иностранного языка и культуры: Сборник научных суденческих работ
(по материалам студенческой конференции 11 апреля 2012 г., г. Белгород). Вып. 4. Т. 2. Отв. ред. Е.В.Пупынина. - Белгород, 2012. - 222 с. (с. 21-23)
Half sized Ireland has always been struggling for its independence for a number of reasons. Differences between Irish and Britons are so evident, that it can be claimed - "those two nations could never live together". But what are the reasons?
One of the most significant differences is the religion. Historically, Ireland was the first of the two islands that was converted into unified (or Catholic) Christianity and consequently the first to acquire cultural heritage of the Christian world. It was Ireland from where Christian preachers moved to the East to distribute the "good news" in the kingdoms of Britain But, the hope for consolidation under the rule of Pope faded completely when the British monarch, in his intention to re-marry, "baptized" the country into another, Christian-like belief and created a new impassable barrier between the nations.
The second issue, we need to keep in our minds is the conflict of cultural and ethnic identities, which even in the modem environment are solid reasons of miscommunication all round the world. Irish culture as a mixture of old Celt's patterns on crafts, fairy tales of "ye oldie times" and Christian traditions was developing in a different way. It is not less significant than the cultural heritage of Great Britain, though. Ireland's humanistic traditions, rooted in Christianity and the ruling regime "with the human face", turned to Irish commoners, (not to the gentry as in Britain,) provided a solid ground for the people to develop not only physically, but mentally as well. That's why in Victorian times of stiffness, controversy and "practicalism", the Irish poetic and musical frame of mind was considered to be childish and silly. Allegoric and widespread comparison of the two countries with male and female relations, acquires a deep sense, when we analyze the indications of female and male cultural types - rational, practical, class-divided British and irrational, artistic, freedom-loving Irish type. Unlike successful heterosexual "marriages", the communication of different types of culture brings a certain conflict.
We come to the conclusion, that it's not right to perceive Ireland as it's perceived by the stereotyped British commoner - "pubs, catholic churches, alcohol, alcohol, alcohol, fighting, greenness, shamrocks, Irish dancing, red hair, terrorist organizations, Union flags, cows, ploughs and... drunkards" . In addition to that we have a rather thick cultural layer to cover the vices of typical human society.
The thorough study of history and the predecessors of both nations evidences that not only they originated from different ethnic tribes, but the roots for bible-based conflict is revealed to us. One of the ethnicities belongs to "Abel, the herder of ship" (nomadic tribes of Angles and Saxes) and the other to "Cain, the cultivator of the ground" (the Irish are well known ploughmen). As stated above, we may conclude that the main thing for an "Englishman-to-the-bone" is the herd of sheep and his sword, while the Irishmen have always been bound to the land they lived on. This helps us understand that, not only the religious conflict, but differences in housekeeping, settlement organization, eating habits and many other aspects played their roles to stop the two nations from assimilation. Obviously there were a little chance of finding the consolidating idea, such as "annual Football World Cup event".
The third reason for the conflict is both social and political. In the beginning of the XXth century, as the Irish society faced the problem of unemployment and the unrest, European industry (and namely British) was rapidly growing. Many unmarried young men moved to the East in search for workplaces and higher wages. This gave rise to an anti-Irish sentiment and marginalization of the immigrants. The common opinion in Britain sounded like "being poor is being prone to crime". Literacy level among the immigrants was much lower, than among the Brits, so, popular culture bore the image of "ape-like, primitive and cruel Irish Frankestein", who arrived to the Albion to take over the workplaces and bring the "true Britons" to ruin and bankruptcy. Partly being a reason and partly being a result of this opinion, the Irish people settled down in particular regions, for they sought living in local societies, providing at least primitive social protection. "Self-segregation" and further marginalization of the immigrant population, had significantly contributed to the idea of British superiority over their neighbours. Now, Britain considered the Irishmen "less evolved". That may, of course, remind us of the nazi idea of national superiority, stated that all other people "had less of the evolution", but is to some extent applicable to British Imperialistic vision of the whole world. Such idea, though never commonly held and openly proclaimed, still played its damaging role "in the backyard of people's mind".
One of the political reasons for the military conflicts and acts of terrorism in the early XXth century was the situation, when the Irish farmers never owned their lands, being pure vassals to the British throne till 1920s (according to Irish sources - till 1940). They could not control the lands they sowed up, nor could they modernize their production processes. The political situation was heated up by the feminist organizations, labour unions rise and creation of nationalistic movement organizations, such as Irish Home Rule. All these groups of people developed a clear and easy-for-understanding ideology, calling for "military actions and resistance" to the "British invaders", to Ireland's independence. In the context of the political situation in the world, looking to the East, where the Soviet Russia was officially recognized as an independent state, Ireland's revolutionary romanticism grew stronger and long cherished ill-will burst in the tide of terrorism. Even being granted the lands and leaving in their own country, the Irish people, having a part of their northern possessions bitten by the British Empire still continue the struggle with the help of the Provisional IRA and other terrorist organizations, funded by the Irish around the world, as many of those who fled to America and Europe, still consider the Brits to be the threat to Irish independence.
The answer to the question why there is so much intransigence in the XXIth century is simple. It's not anymore the culture on a large scale (the church doesn't have that significant influence on the people's minds anymore and the Irish tend to learn English more often than they want to learn their mother tongue), it's rather the territorial dispute. The Irish want the northern territories back, while the British would have never given up their lands as an addition to facing a huge loss of political influence in the world for the period of the century. But, that's the point worthy of further investigation.
Использованная литература1. Article.http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/British-Irish_relations
2. Royal Stamp of Approval, http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/21/opinion/la-ed-quecn-20110521
3. Frank Wright Northern Ireland and the British-Irish Relations. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/ 30097362?uid=3738936&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=21100704599351