In Ulster, whether Irish or British or a mix, we all share a legacy of violence, death, exploitation, injury, and trauma in our families. Denise Blake’s poem Wild Horses celebrates a small victory over the British war veterans brought to Ireland 100 years ago to suppress the rebellion against the Treaty which introduced partition and divided the island of Ireland into those pro-Treaty and those anti-Treaty:
“It is said in Ceann Conn – the Head of the Hound-The Black and Tans came for my great-grandfather’s horse”.
The horse “reared up” a phrase often used in Ulster for how we react with anger when we are cornered. People stood by as the horse fought off the attempt the Black and Tans to commandeer him. The horse won a victory against violence.
In Ulster, will those who seek to provoke peacelovers with their song “Bring back the Black and Tans” succeed? Binary poles of US and THEM will lead us into more violence. Is there a shared cross-border Ulster voice to resist those who seek to divide us with Imperialist or Nationalist demagoguery and jingoism?