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The ambiguous legacy of the Irish Easter Rising: Patriotism or Terrorism?

Event Type
Organized by the European Union Center. Co-sponsored by the School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics; Department of English; Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program (WGGP);and the Center for Global Studies (CGS) through support of the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI NRC program.
Lucy Ellis Lounge, 1080 FLB, 707 S. Matthews Avenue, Urbana IL 
Mar 30, 2016   12:00 pm  
Paddy Woodworth -- Public intellectual, Irish Times journalist, author, and Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Languages and Literatures, University College Dublin.
Kim Rice
Originating Calendar
European Union Center Events

Abstract: The decision of a small minority of Irish nationalists to attempt a violent insurrection against British rule in 1916 reverberated across the colonial world, and has left a lasting but problematic legacy in contemporary Ireland a century later. Should Irish democrats this year celebrate a movement that used the gun to impose its will on the majority? Does a set of patriotic convictions legitimize the right to bear arms against the State, and one's fellow citizens? On the other hand, were the actions of the rebels ethically any worse than those of British and French national leaders who claimed democratic mandates for the contemporaneous slaughter of the First World War? But should the rebels not have waited to see if a victorious Britain would have honored her promise to grant Home Rule to the non-violent majority? The 1916 leaders undoubtedly espoused high political and social ideals but their actions led to the deaths of many civilians, including many children, in the short term, and inspired the actions of groups most citizens regard as terrorist in more recent history, such as the Provisional IRA. Paddy Woodworth will attempt to navigate these troubling arguments though he does not promise any definitive answers.

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