Saturday, March 21, 2015

Irish, Potatoes, and Armalite AR-180s

If you're on the side of the British, the men who refused to surrender their weapons, powder, and shot on the green at Concord were rebels, insurrectionists, criminals. If you're on the side of the Colonists, the British are oppressors and fighting them to the death is an honorable decision. How history sees it depends on who wins. The colonist won and called it the "War of Independence" and "The American Revolution."

The American South fought a war for independence and lost. The American North framed it as civil unrest and it is known as the Civil War.

The Vietnamese call the events of 1954-1975 "The Resistance War Against America". 

The Carthaginians didn't get to call it anything, the Romans called it the Punic Wars.

And so on, but let's speak of Ireland.

The British invaded and subjugated Ireland in a long and involved history. How you see these events depends on which side you support. The British absolutely see the Irish Republican Army as terrorists. The British also frame the discussion of recent events by calling them "The Troubles", like it was just a small bit of unpleasantness, not something that would call for the British Army to build bases and do armed patrols.

The British won again. Doesn't make them right or righteous, just successful. After enough time goes by, everyone forgets the real history of the oppression. The British had won before, as well. They held Ireland for centuries.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish Catholics had been prohibited by laws from purchasing land, from voting, from holding political office. 80% of the population was Catholic. They lived in poverty, raising livestock and crops that profited the British owners of the land.They were little more than slaves.

When the blight hit the potato crop, it was not just the blight that killed the Irish. It was the British. Between a million and a million and a half people starved to death, a million more emigrated, mostly to the United States. It was just the final straw in the British plan. Read the history of it, all of it, because it is in danger of being forgotten. It was genocide, with the plan to replace the Gaelic speaking Catholics with English speaking Protestants.

But if you decided to fight back, you were a rebel and more recently, since the British noticed how the United States responds to the word, a terrorist.

All of that to get to this:

Over at The Firearms Blog, a recent post they put up linking to an article on the AR-180 and it's use by the IRA against the British occupation forces was taken down and replaced with an apology after a British soldier complained about the topic, the Irish "terrorists" and the fact that the post was put up on St. Patrick's Day.

The comment thread alone is worth the price of admission.

And if you're wondering what the kerfluffle was about, here's the original article on the history of the Armalite AR-180.


Sherm said...

I've maintained for years that my ancestors immigrated from Ireland before the American Revolution because they wanted another opportunity to shoot at the British. (One even burned some powder on 19 Apr 1775.)

Anonymous said...

So all of you on the side of the IRA y'all do know that quite a few of them were kiddy fiddlers. This among other criminal interesting facts of a very very serious nature persuaded a number of their hierarchy to come to the negotiating table. Otherwise just on normal criminal charges they were looking at 30 to 40 years in jail and that was ignoring their terrorist crimes.

ASM826 said...

Whether the IRA had any right to exist, let alone what crimes individuals have committed, has nothing to do with the history of the subjugation of Ireland by the British.

There is no side. The British won. The IRA was a doomed effort, too little, too late. It was all unnecessary violence because they could not win.

Ireland was too small and too weak militarily three centuries ago when it might have mattered.

Goober said...

I disagree with taking the article down. A simple response to the comment "we here at TFB don't take political stands on this sort of thing. It was an article about a gun - a gun that your enemy happened to use a lot, so your enemy was mentioned in the article. There was no implied support of your enemy, nor of you, included or intended.

If you choose not to believe that, and would rather take offense than putting your big boy pants on, then I suggest you leave."

It's amazing to me how TFB didn't get any panty-waisted crybaby Vietnam Vets complaining about it when they did a write-up on the AK 47 and it's use by the NVA/VC. (Perhaps because there are no panty-waisted crybabies in that cohort).

And I doubt very much that they'd have taken it down if they did.

The gun was not responsible for the use that the IRA put it to. It was a write up about a totally inert tool, and nothing more. The intent of the man using that tool wasn't even considered in the article.

Paul Bonneau said...

PC comes to the firearms world. Can anything be more ridiculous?