The ills of the Crown

A look into the turmoil between British rule and Ireland 

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, and while there have been many mourners, some have used her death to bring to light the atrocities they claim belong to the crown.

One of the most prevalent areas to show less mourning for the Queen’s death is Ireland, with Irish fans cheering ‘Lizzy’s in a box’ at a recent soccer match showing that their turmoil has come to light. 

While some have criticized the behavior of these citizens, many point out the harsh and bitter history they faced under colonial rule. 

The division of Ireland and Northern Ireland as well as the Irish Potato famine are areas of specific emotional trauma. 

The Irish Potato famine led to the death of around one million people.

“I’m shocked by how many people think the Potato Famine was due to crop failure and don’t know the English exported food from Ireland to England during that time – enough food to feed all the Irish who died,”  Hannah Wanebo, an Irish American lawyer based in Dallas, wrote on Twitter. 

Not everyone is vocal about their distaste for the monarchy or has distaste at all, but the abolishment of the monarchy is not a new discussion in Ireland.

“Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbor who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories,” author Patrick Freyne wrote in an opinion story in the Irish Times. “More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.”

Ireland became independent from the United Kingdom in 1922, however Northern Ireland remains under the United Kingdom. After Ireland’s independence, Northern Ireland faced a period of time called ‘The Troubles of Northern Ireland.’

During this time two opposing forces, the Christian ‘nationalists’ and the Protestant ‘loyalists.’ The ‘nationalists’ rose to fight what is deemed an irregular war, due to descrimination they faced from the Protestant rule, which was supported by the British forces. 

“There was systematic discrimination in housing and jobs,” James Smyth, an emeritus history professor at the University of Notre Dame who grew up in Belfast, said in an article with The History Channel. “The biggest employer in Belfast was the shipyard, but it had a 95 percent Protestant workforce. In the city of Derry, which had a two-thirds Catholic majority, the voting districts had been gerrymandered so badly that it was controlled politically by [Protestant] loyalists for 50 years.”

The period was filled with terrorist acts, riots, ambushes and left many protestors dead. 

Many other populations filled with the emotions of generational trauma caused by the British monarchy are also upset. Although many of the atrocities were not within the Queen’s rule, many believe her lack of effort to atone for the trauma is cause for their reactions.

“If the queen had apologized for slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism and urged the Crown to offer reparations for the millions of lives taken in her/their names, then perhaps I would do the human thing and feel bad,” Kenyan author and Cornell professor, Mukoma Wa Ngugi, wrote in Tweet. “As a Kenyan, I feel nothing. This theater is absurd.”

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