Northern Irish Identity
Some of you may be familiar with the date. 11th July. Every year. That’s tonight, by the way.
A night where people go crazier than usual, where bonfires spring up and police are on patrol. And on this ‘special’ night, I wanted to share a post from my friend, Chris Geddis, on national identity in ‘Our Wee Country’…
Ok, this is Northern Ireland, or the North of Ireland or whatever your upbringing and current views tell you it’s called. Whatever. This is a disclaimer, this could get controversial and somewhat nasty in the debate that’s probably going to occur. This is your warning, so don’t get hurt and offended later if you can’t steel yourself beforehand.
Northern Ireland, a wonderful littleclusterfeck of a nation is seen mostly as usual in green and orange and fuck everyone who doesn’t quite fit into that.
Here’s my problem. Northern Ireland is currently a nation under the united title of Great Britain, something that also encompasses Scotland, Wales and England.I don’t view my nationality as either Irish or British, I view it as Northern Irish, you are allowed to disagree with me here in views to how you see your own nationality but don’t you dare talk down to me about how my nationality isn’t valid or doesn’t exist.Here’s some popular arguments. “You can’t get a Northern Irish passport, you can only get an Irish or GB one.” This is very true. So by that logic, Welsh, Scottish and English people aren’t allowed to call themselves Welsh, Scottish or English, because you can’t get Welsh, Scottish or English passports, only British ones.
Another favourite of mine is being told I’m being wishy-washy. I’m not. I’m sorry but it’s true. I feel I’m Northern Irish. I look to the South and don’t see myself associated with or represented by the Dáil or the Senate. They don’t affect my life. I look to Great Britain, and I can see that the laws passed there will affect me, but each member nation still manages to have its own sense of uniqueness and its own devolved powers.I look then at Stormont, in regards to most powers and issues this is where I feel I need to go and challenge to be represented. We also have our own culture and way of doing things. It’s not Irish culture, and I can’t seem to find anything British culture wise that I can feel I belong to or represents me. I find it here at home in Northern Ireland.So why then do republicans and loyalists, nationalists and unionists insist on calling me out and attempting to the best of their ability to try to make me feel like my opinion is invalid? Scottish people are part of Great Britain, they still have things that are Scottish and unique to Scotland, when they go away abroad places they say they are Scottish.Same with Wales and England. But in Northern Ireland?
Any attempt to assert or try to establish a Northern Ireland identity is often met with the most rampant and ignorant rejections, dismissals and hatred I’ve seen in a long time. Why is this?I can understand if you don’t agree, or feel you need to declare as Irish or British depending on your beliefs and I’ll respect that, but here’s the thing you ignorant bastards. Don’t you ever dare try to tell me that my nationality or belief is invalid, and I can’t call myself Northern Irish. We have our own history, our own culture and our own uniqueness separate from the Republic, and separate from the title British, just like England, Scotland and Wales do.So the next time you feel like you need to get on your high horse and tell me that I’m not supposed to, or my views on my nationality are invalid, I want you to think if you’d tell a Scottish person they can’t be Scottish, a Welsh person they can’t be Welsh or an english person they can’t be english, or an irish person they can’t be irish. Or finally, a British person they can’t be british.Thank you. And wise up.
Don’t do anything stupid on your 11th night, no matter what ‘side’ you’re from.
Thanks to Chris for allowing me to repost.