Compare and contrast - Ireland and the United States and Irish and Irish-Americans
Three rather simplistic truisms emerged
Second, Irish people, unlike Irish-Americans, are not necessarily “US-centric.” Most Irish-Americans have their first experience of Irish people in the United States. As long-time residents who’ve built lives and livelihoods in the new world or as recently arrived emigrants chasing the American dream, they typically have nothing but praise for America and, often times, nothing but disdain for the country of their birth. It can prove an extraordinary culture shock to arrive in Ireland and discover that there are many Irish people without the slightest interest in the United States. Whether out of genuine ideological opposition or ignorance, some Irish people disdain Uncle Sam and aren’t afraid to say it to Americans. This can take some getting used to – it takes a lot longer than most vacationing Irish-Americans have – and it can especially hurt those of us who proudly identify with Ireland that some of those who we would have regarded as “our” people don’t welcome us.
It is important to note that, since the unspeakable events of 9/11, there is no doubt but that American foreign policy has provoked much of this hostility. Whether one concurs with the Bush doctrine of “pre-emptive war” or with America’s unwavering, increasingly lonely fidelity to Israel, both enrage a substantial percentage of the Irish citizenry. There are certainly many justifications for taking issue with American foreign policy of late and harsh criticisms have been articulated within and without the United States. But one key point to note is that Irish people have a fundamentally different starting point. They see the world through Irish eyes, not American eyes.
Third, and most importantly, there is far more that unites our countries and people than divides us. While no one could mistake Ireland for the 51st state, the ties that bind our countries and people are incredibly strong. Hearing the litany of Irish surnames called out at the recent ceremony at Ground Zero honouring those who died on 9/11 is testament to these ties. President Mary McAleese spoke movingly about “our friends and family” in the United States at a ceremony in Dublin to commemorate the tenth anniversary of what was an awful day in the history of both countries.
Moreover, as those who’ve travelled in continental Europe in recent years would readily recognise, America and Americans have far more in common with Ireland and the Irish, and vice versa, than with continental Europeans. Ireland is a part of the European Union and has benefitted from closer ties with Europe in myriad ways. Yet culturally, whether consciously or unconsciously, Irish society has turned to Boston, not Berlin.
In the end, these three truisms are offered as “macro” musings that, I hope, provide some context for the positive and negative “micro” points made in the two recent columns on this site. While I both agreed and disagreed with the observations made in the two columns, I respect both authors for undertaking in a thoughtful fashion what is vital for all those who describe themselves as Irish-Americans and want to fully comprehend their cultural identity: a trip “home.”
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A sibling can apply for an Irish passport. Any sibling of an Irish person meaning a sibling born outside of Ireland bonehead. One really does have toNelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning its arms during 2000 talks
Eiriamach!! The IRA were fighting state terrorism and had massive support in the 70's and 80's and I am disappointed you take the side of unionism andBill O’Reilly slams Nelson Mandela as an unrepentant “communist”
Some make a lot over the fact that Mandela associated with communists while looking over the fact that he also associated with capitalists. He was a nNelson Mandela once considered a terrorist by many Irish political leaders
You're not capable of carrying out an adult debate especially when most of your dribbling's are based on false premises chucky babe