Cultural Cleansing

With the recent reports of cultural cleansing and destruction of historical landmarks by ISIS in the Middle East region it got my mind thinking to similar tactics adopted by Irish Republicans in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This tactic was used against any historical monuments or sculptures that the Republican Movement deemed to be associated with Irish Protestantism and/or Britishness.

Nelsons Pillar - O'Connell Street - Dublin
Nelsons Pillar – O’Connell Street – Dublin

 

                                                                                                                                                                  News of Nelsons victory at Trafalgar in 1805 was greeted with celebrations in the streets of Dublin alongside mourning for the death of the hero. Dublins commerce relied on sea trade and safe shipping that could be disrupted by Napoleons French Navy. Nelsons Pillar was built in the middle of O’Connell Street, Dublin in 1809. It became very much a tourist attraction to any visitor travelling or staying in the ‘Fair City’ to climb up the stairs inside the pillar to the top.
The memorial plaque read ; By the blessing of Almighty God to commemorate the transcendent heroic achievements of the right honourable Horatio Lord Viscount Nelson, Duke of Bronti in Sicily, Vice-Admiral of the White Squadron of His Majesty’s Fleet who fell gloriously in the battle of Cape Trafalgar on the 21st day of October 1805 when he obtained for his country a victory over the combined fleets of France and Spain unparalleled in Navy History. This first stone of a triumphal pillar was laid by his Grace Charles Duke of Richmond and Lennox.

A Republican bomb destroyed the upper half of the pillar on 8th March 1966. The Dublin Corporation demolished the rest of the pillar a few days later.

Roaring Hugh Hanna Statue bomb damage taken away by Army Technical Officers
Roaring Hugh Hanna Statue bomb damage taken away by Army Technical Officers

 

Hugh (Roaring) Hanna was an evangelical preacher (21 Feb 1821 – 3 Feb 1892). In 1847 Hanna became a minister of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He objected to restrictions to postpone open-air preaching in Belfast and in protest addressed over 20,000 people in the Belfast Botanic Gardens. He was also strongly opposed to the Home Rule Bill of 1886 in Ireland. A black marble statue of Hanna was erected in Carlisle Circus – Belfast in 1894 beside his church of St Enoch’s in his memory.

This was removed after it was damaged by an IRA bomb on 1st March 1970.

Bombed Walkers Monument Londonderry Walls
Bombed Walkers Monument Londonderry Walls

George Walker was the Joint Governor of Londonderry during the Siege in 1689. His monument was built in 1828 in his memory. It reads ; This monument was erected to perpetuate the memory of the Rev George Walker who aided by the garrison and brave in habitants of this city most gallantily defended it through a protracted siege,viz from the 7th December 1688 to the 12th of August 1689 following against an arbitrary and bigoted Monarch, heading an army of upwards of 20,000 men many of whom were foreign mercenaries and by such valiant conduct in numerous sorties and by patiently enduring extreme privations and sufferings successfully resisted the besiegers and preserved for their posterity the blessings of civil and religious liberty.

The Walker Memorial Monument and Statue was bombed and destroyed by the IRA in August 1973.

I will let the reader decide if there is any difference between Irish Republicanism and ISIS on such a strategy of cultural cleansing ?

TE Lawrence