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September 4, 2001
7:45 PM   Subscribe

Six-year-old kid goes to school, gets beaned with rocks. Class bullies? No. Protestants. Doesn't it seem like there are some places in the world (Middle East, Eritrea/Ethiopia, Balkans, etc.) where people just insist on hating and killing each other until everyone's dead? Or is it just that the various media paint it that way?
posted by Bixby23 (19 comments total)

 
Milgram + MacKay
posted by raaka at 8:49 PM on September 4, 2001


Although off the topic, the Ethiopia/Eritrea conflict was interesting. You could supposedly tell which town was controlled by who, because Coke was dominant in Eritrea and Pepsi in Ethiopia, so the stores there would be selling the soda of the victor.

As far as these places are concerned, I doubt there'll be peace until there's some greater cause that forces both sides together. Such as how both branches of Islam hate the Israelis more than they hate each other (and they *do* hate each other, witness the Iran-Iraq war of the 80's), although hopefully Ireland will find a better solution than that.
posted by Kevs at 9:41 PM on September 4, 2001


The conflict didn't start yesterday. In this particular photo opportunity, Protestants are shown throwing stuff at Catholics, but that comes after the Catholics threw stuff at the Protestants, which comes after the Protestants threw stuff at the Catholics, which comes after the Catholics threw stuff at the Protestants, which...

To fix Northern Ireland you would have to enforce integration in schools (desk by desk, locker by locker) and in housing (apartment by apartment, not just street by street) and in all public-sector jobs (50-50 quotas for everything) long enough to allow two or three generations to grow up intertwined, intermarried, and interdependent.

And of course it wouldn't really work; fools on each side would make petty claims to sabotage the effort and maintain their little ghettos, depite knowing that their isolationism and constant bluster kills.
posted by pracowity at 11:47 PM on September 4, 2001


Sometimes, I just dispair at the stupidity of humanity. To hear his self-righteous woman on the radio, trying to justify her putrid little hate-mob had me screaming with rage as I drove home last night. To be fair, the interviewer didn't give her an easy ride, but surely there are times when even a BBC interviewer can say, "you're a despicable hate-monger, and I'm not giving you a platform to justify what you're doing"?
posted by salmacis at 12:29 AM on September 5, 2001


I have no idea why, but it seems people are more obsessed with stupid details over things that matter.

This works for corporations, where we spend three hours in ten person meetings discussing how one guy should use ellipses in his project instead of actually making the products better, as well as whole populations, who spend so much time and effort trying to abuse people they don`t like instead of tending to their own and keeping their children healthy and happy.
posted by chiheisen at 1:41 AM on September 5, 2001


I have never felt more disgusted with the situation in this shite wee country than when I turned on the news on monday afternoon. Pracowity is spot on in his evaluation -

To fix Northern Ireland you would have to enforce integration in schools (desk by desk, locker by locker) and in housing (apartment by apartment, not just street by street) and in all public-sector jobs (50-50 quotas for everything) long enough to allow two or three generations to grow up intertwined, intermarried, and interdependent.

At the end of the day there is no fix for this country (and I'm a big advocate of the peace process), monkeys will forever be monkeys - the minority who cause the crap are one step down on the evolution ladder. The scenes this week remind me of 60's America when black kids had to walk through a gauntlet to get to school - it could equally be Nazi Germany. And the protesters call themselves concerned residents!
posted by twistedonion at 1:42 AM on September 5, 2001


What can I say to you non Irish folks?

I think the vast majority of Ireland has been staring at this situation in horror, and well...what can I say? :-(

It's so fucked up - I mean, all this over a fucking route to a school?

The Loyalist / Protestant paramiliary are stirring up thje community there telling the residents not to let the "other through", and the Republican / Catholic paramilitaries are stiring up the parents of the kids by telling them that it's wrong for them to choose another route, that they should go by the main route, ie, through a Loyalist estate.

It's so fucking stupid, and all it does is affect the kids.
posted by tomcosgrave at 2:28 AM on September 5, 2001


It's so fucking stupid, and all it does is affect the kids.

Or Kill them

How can anyone justify throwing a bomb at a group of kids?
posted by twistedonion at 3:00 AM on September 5, 2001


How can anyone justify throwing a bomb at a group of kids?

Because it guarantees that the next generation will be as good at the fear and hatred business as themselves.

It's fucking tempting to want to impose something as distasteful as the "integration" imposed upon Aboriginal children in Australia during the 50s. Swap the Protestant and Catholic babies in the hospitals and tell the parents to deal with it.

One hope is that because this is a close-hand example of the RUC defending the Catholics of North Belfast, it gives that community a little more confidence -- and respect -- for their police force.
posted by holgate at 3:07 AM on September 5, 2001


It's often quoted as saying that the troubles in Northern Ireland are caused by the minority. I don't think they are. True, only a small minority actually join paramilitary groups. The majority encourage it though the sort of scenes we saw over the last couple of days. Mob rule cannot thrive unless there are enough people to go along with it. Look at the gains made by the DUP and Sinn Fein in the last elections. If people truly wanted peace, the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP would wipe them out at the polls.

Northern Ireland is just ungovernable, and why the Republic want it is beyond me. As far as I'm concerned they're welcome to it.

(Apologies to any Northern Irish reading this. The mere fact you're a member of MeFi indicates you're part of the solution, not part of the problem.)
posted by salmacis at 3:42 AM on September 5, 2001


You'd think the first loyalty of people who ground their 'loyalty' in religion would be towards the human race.

I'm just stupid though.
posted by vbfg at 4:27 AM on September 5, 2001


Northern Ireland is just ungovernable, and why the Republic want it is beyond me. As far as I'm concerned they're welcome to it.

Umm, well as a citizen of the Republic, I don't really give a shit. Most people I know don't care either...

And as for that fucking blast bomb....I suppose they can justify throwing bombs at kids because they're "fenians" and they deserve it or something.

*sigh*

Maybe it's time to pull out the British Army and bring a UN army in istead, with no British or Irish troops?
posted by tomcosgrave at 5:12 AM on September 5, 2001


> You'd think the first loyalty of people who ground their
> 'loyalty' in religion would be towards the human race.

Their religions (which in any case are just two slightly different brands of the same religion, and nothing usually worth fighting over) are easy labels, but though these local groups are generally divided along religious lines, they are better thought of as Republicans and Loyalists. For example, I know one staunch Belfast Loyalist who is by culture a Belfast Protestant, but who is very much an atheist. For him, religion has nothing to do with it, and I'm sure he's not the only atheist in town.

It's nationalism. It's tribalism. When you read 'Republican' and 'Loyalist', think 'Hutu' and 'Tutsi'. No amount of reasoning will ever make them like one another, because there is no reasoning with tribal loyalties.

> Maybe it's time to pull out the British Army and bring a
> UN army in istead, with no British or Irish troops?

For how long, though?
posted by pracowity at 5:53 AM on September 5, 2001


You'd think the first loyalty of people who ground their 'loyalty' in religion would be towards the human race.

and this is where the media have led americans astray. the conflict has zilch to do with religion. zippo. i'll decode the clever misdirection for you - 'catholics' are irish. 'protestants' are british. (think about it!) the british have occupied (i wont get into legally or illegally) the northern 6 counties of ireland for many years. that is the crux of the problem. british imperialism and irish resistance to that imperialism. god knows it has nothing to do with religion, unfortunately most americans don't.
posted by quonsar at 6:10 AM on September 5, 2001


It's often quoted as saying that the troubles in Northern Ireland are caused by the minority. I don't think they are. True, only a small minority actually join paramilitary groups. The majority encourage it though the sort of scenes we saw over the last couple of days.

Wrong

The majority have encouraged nothing, the majority are sick of the troubles, the majority want peace, the majority are the ones who suffer, the majority are afraid to speak. I'm not talking about Protestant majority and Catholic minority here, because that in itself is a very bad way of looking at things, I'm talking about the majority of the population.

Most Catholics and most Protestants want nothing to do with the shit that we have to deal with. But we can do nothing about it - the minority on each side control their neighbourhoods. The terrorists on both sides are nothing but organised criminals motivated by money and a lust for murder - it has nothing to do with politics.
posted by twistedonion at 6:35 AM on September 5, 2001


twistedonion:

> monkeys will forever be monkeys

Humans, like almost all other primates, are wired up to live in small tribal groups separated from other tribal groups by defended territorial borders and buffer zones. Think howler monkeys and you've got it. Because we are actually a bit smarter than howler monkeys, ethnic/racial/cultural diversity within the same area can work some of the time, even with luck most of the time, but one of the things that can happen is a breakdown of cooperation into blood feud. And, as the man says, if it can happen, it will. Or, as Stephen Jay Gould put it more elegantly, time converts the improbable into the inevitable.

Once the breakdown into blood feud has occurred, this seems to be a situation that human beings are not smart enough to break out of. As prac says, the only solution then is autocracy (assuming there is some authority interested enough and strong enough to suppress the feud autocratically.) And even then the bloodshed will return as soon as autocratic control is relaxed. The Soviets kept the Balkans peaceful by force for a while, but as soon as Soviet force collapsed here comes the feud again. In fifty years of peace-by-autocracy the desires of Serbs, Croats, Albanians, etc. to blow away their neighbors did not lessen.


Salmacis:

> Sometimes, I just dispair at the stupidity of humanity.

Humans are very smart. Just not quite smart enough.
posted by jfuller at 7:05 AM on September 5, 2001


I once got drunk in a bar with an army captain who'd been stationed in N. Ireland several times. You'll understand I can't remember his exact words, but they were along the lines of "Anyone who thinks N.Ireland is about religion or politics doesn't know shit. Why do you think the peace process always fails at decomissioning [of arms]? Too many people making too much money from organised crime and weapons trading".

I claim no expert knowledge of the detail of the lunacy that is N. Ireland, but I've never read or seen anything to convince me he was wrong.
posted by normy at 7:07 AM on September 5, 2001


> Sometimes, I just dispair at the stupidity of humanity.

Humans are very smart. Just not quite smart enough.


I've been of the opinion, lately, that we are plenty smart enough - what we need now is to be wise. not just these ethnic clashes, but the environmental disasters we've visited on ourselves.

normy, I seem to remember reading much the same thing in a magazine article a couple of years ago. (in Mother Jones?) there's always somebody ready to make a buck off of human conflict.
posted by epersonae at 7:42 AM on September 5, 2001


there's always somebody ready to make a buck off of human conflict.

Like the guy selling American flags and lighter fuel at a Middle East demonstration? :-)
posted by salmacis at 12:53 AM on September 6, 2001


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