It has been an historic few weeks with a magnificent centenary taking place to mark the Easter Rising, with more to follow when American commemorations timed to the actual date in late April occur. The winners so far?
Irish government: The spectacular Easter Sunday and Monday events in Dublin where there was a military parade on Sunday and on Monday fun for all the family activities was a huge hit. There was no triumphalism, and no attempt to grab political credit on any side for once.
Notre Dame’s three-part series on the Rising, entitled "1916 The Irish Rebellion." A brilliant three part documentary aimed at Americans explaining the Rising, but it also went over very big in Ireland. Coming soon to a PBS Station near you, so don’t miss.
RTE: Ireland’s television and radio network surpassed itself with a slew of balanced documentaries and insightful programming. Star turn was the concert on Easter Monday night which many likened to Riverdance in its impact.
Plain people of Ireland: Despite efforts to denigrate the Easter Rising in much of the media, they turned out in their millions to remember the brave men and women of 1916.
President Michael D. Higgins: His thoughtful and insightful speeches and observations proved him a politician without peer in Ireland when interpreting the past and contextualizing the future. An outstanding president.
The occasion has also exposed those with no understanding of the Rising at all. The losers in this category:
Scores of revisionists who have tried for decades to bring down the reputation of the 1916 leaders and consign them to history’s scrap heap. One of the most prominent who slammed the 1916 leaders turned out to have called the Iraq War a just war. There’s consistency for you.
U.S. media including The New York Times: The Times started off well with articles on the women of the Rising and then Timothy Egan’s deep historical roots of Irish insurrection tracing back to the Famine.
Then they published an unknown Irish historian saying the Irish were actually more British than Irish, and editorial board member Lawrence Downes comparing the uprising to the bombs in Belgium.
There were many other dreadful contributions too. It seems the intelligentsia are caught in a time warp that stopped sometime during the mid-1970s when the IRA campaign was in full swing and have never moved on.
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster: The new head of the Democratic Unionist Party revealed herself a very limited leader, excusing the gunrunning by Loyalists which sparked off the Irish volunteers and seeing no redeeming features whatever in the Irish fight for independence. Giving every impression of soft sectarianism in her early days in power.
Sir Bob Geldof: After sucking on the hind tit of British royalty for decades, culminating in his knighthood, the singer equates the 1916 Rising with ISIS. Stick to the broken down music career Bob.