So says the headline in Spiegel. It refers to the fact that the British military are withdrawing from Northern Ireland, as of midnight, July 31st, BST.
If you want an Irish interpretation (not a Northern Irish [Scots] Protestant view, of course) the headline would really say: “Finally the Hated Strangers are Leaving.”
A friend of mine has a very old book of rules, one handed down from her relatives, on how the Irish peasants were to be treated by their Anglo-Irish landlords. The rules appear to have much in common with the treatment of American slaves before the Emancipation Proclamation.
But now the soldiers are leaving the North:
The longest deployment of troops in the history of the British military ends at midnight, when the army’s operation in Northern Ireland officially comes to an end. But the 38-year-long deployment will be seen as one of the darkest chapters in the army’s history.
To what circumstance do Belfast’s Catholics owe this peculiar liberation? Have the English suddenly become enlightened? Hardly. Generations ago, they deliberately moved their own northern peoples into Ireland to take over the land from the Irish peasants. They systematically destroyed all Irish birth and baptismal records and land deeds. Now, centuries later, with so many of the original Irish families extinct, fled, or imprisoned and exiled from a green land that the British repeatedly laid waste, there would be few left to “give” it back to.
No, the Brits sail away for other, more pragmatic reasons:
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The official reason is that the situation in Northern Ireland is sufficiently stable for such measures to be taken. The real reason is the lack of recruits. More than 12,000 soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq. The British military’s Chief of the General Staff, General Richard Dannatt, said in a secret memorandum that was leaked to the press that the military is overstretched: “We now have almost no capacity to react to the unexpected.”
However, the seeds of destruction planted so long ago by the English will continue to bear their poisonous fruit:
The Protestant militias have not yet handed over their weapons. The week before last, a policeman was critically injured during an internal feud.
Although it is less complete than the Jewish Diaspora, the Irish migration away from the boot of the English served to carry us across the face of the earth. But we brought with us in our DNA an ineradicable memory of that cruel and callous foot on our necks.
Those people destroyed parts of Ireland; they also wasted the lives of their own English boys — all in a vain attempt to bring the Irish to their knees.
Ireland still stands.