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The Irish Victory - 100 years of effort
Despite over a century of engineered unionism, realities are changing and the dream of a Unified Sovereign Ireland is closer to completion.
A story tends to be told with nostalgia and romanticism, but the journey of how the events are accomplished is one of patience, turmoil and compromise.
How did we get here today where Sinn Fein, an Irish nationalist party, now is a majority in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland parliaments?
The simple version is Brexit, as you cannot put extensive restrictions between the Republic of Ireland & Northern Ireland (NI) similar to the border drawn by European powers between the Yorùbá of Benin Republic and Nigeria which was blockaded for over a year by the last Nigerian administration.
The Tribalism we tend to comprehend
We are going to see a few maps and draw some conclusion. You're free to disagree and draw yours. We'll try to keep the election result map on the left for reference.
Some people were born in NI and felt it belongs to all, others were born abroad and felt the need to hold on tightly to their birthright. Guess experiencing the diaspora makes you a tad bit more tribalistic ni yen.
The map below shows the degree of fluency in reading and writing Irish in Northern Ireland. Quite funny that only 75k people can read, write and understand Irish fluently in the whole of Northern Ireland.
A map protestants vs catholics. Blue is protestant, red is catholic. Note British are largely protestants and Republic of Ireland largely catholics.
A map of national identity they identify with. Green is Irish and Blue is British. By now you'll notice a pattern. If not 🤨?
Let’s take a look at the map of the National Identity by Ethnicity. Different ethnic groups in all areas are asked to choose between the three - British, Ireland and NI. Note: diaspora groups from across the world also had a choice. After all, the land belongs to all of us now 😅.
Anyway, the maps were quite fun. It all can be found on Wikipedia - Demography of Northern Ireland.
As we saw above, Northern Ireland has a sizeable British and British aligned (through various means) occupant. For a long time, over a century, the swing voters voted majorly for the union party, a force of status quo that wishes to keep Northern Ireland in the union without rocking the UK boat.
Because of Brexit though, they have largely switched their supported to the Sinn Fein party, which is the nationalist party that wishes to complete the dream of a fully independent Irish homeland of which Northern Ireland is currently the missing piece. A dream I find appealing as a Yoruba.
The forgotten truth
Anyway, when the going we're good, they voted for a continues existence in the UK where they enjoyed much benefits to the dismay of their nationalist brothers for decades until a shift happened in between the early 2000s up and the current Brexit conundrum.
Well, it appears everybody nah hypocrite without shame as long as the benefits justify’s it. Moving on, people who awoke to be more Irish inclined now choose to vote for an Irish union party, an expression of democracy and Irish nationalism but apparently not tribalism (seems the rules in Europe are quite different from that of Africa).
Observations from the maps
The occupant of the western section of NI can be said to identify and align more towards being Irish, while those of the east identify and align more towards being British. This division in identity is expressed in the maps and polls above. It is important not to forget that many areas in past elections voted overwhelmingly for the unionists.
The very same forces and division that were exploited in this election are no different from that which played out in recent electoral pattern in Yorùbá land (South West Nigeria) and across other regions in Nigeria.
Such an electoral map will be shouted down on the alter of tribalism in Nigeria, but in saner clime we understand it as a progression towards a united Ireland for all Irish people. If you listen to the unionist arguments, it'll remind you a lot of the fear mongering by those who prefer the status quo.
Despite over a century of engineered unionism, realities are changing and the dream of a Unified Sovereign Ireland is closer to completion. We can learn lessons from this in our pursuit of a Unified Sovereign Yorùbáland away from other colonial complexities.
Sinn Fein were once called tribalists, backward, illiberal, terrorist against the current global citizenship (whatever that means), they were accused of trying to instigate a tribal conflict once again in Europe, of bringing back the barbarism of ethnic conclaves, of being against diversity and multiculturalism, and many other evils. They walked their path until this moment as they understood the Irish experience and how it's been fault with devastation as they are at the mercy of the British.
Going back to the main question, where is the tribalism in this, the Irish & Irish inclined people voted for a Northern Ireland for Irish while the British & British aligned people voted for a party that is focused on keeping the British aligned hegemony in place.
In Nigerian English, those who voted for Sinn Fein are tribalists and bigots while those who voted for UDP are the true lovers of a "One United Kingdom created by god", the good guys who sees everyone as human (😉 British 🤫) first.
Anyway, the Irish people could care less what we think, as it is their fate to be decided and they about have had enough of the emotional manipulations and machinations of the British.
In about a thousand years, we will likely understand as they did the importance of complete sovereignty and freedom of one’s own lands, a truly Sovereign Independent Homeland for one’s own ethnicity. That's if we choose not to take their vast experience to heart, learn from their mistake and skip a whole lot of pain, famine, sorrow and death, only to end up where we keep running from.
As an African, it’s okay to be just another human being.
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