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A letter from Ireland to an American friend

An Irish-American friend of mine wrote to me after the Paris attacks suggesting that the problem was Muslims who don’t want to assimilate, unlike the Irish that came to America.

I don’t think it is about Muslims who refuse to assimilate. It is about our refusal to stop destroying states.

We bombed Afghanistan’s students (Taliban) who had stopped the drug trade when it was Saudi nationals that blew up the twin towers.

We bombed and destroyed a secular state, Iraq, because we could and that place went to hell with millions of refugees. We took out Gaddafi and eliminated that state. More refugees. We now bomb the secular Syrian state to get rid of Assad. More refugees.

We approved the biggest arms deal to Wahabi Saudi—the beheader in chief—Arabia for more bombing in Yemen and the promotion of more ISIS like groups throughout the middle east and the European west.

We eliminate secular states and replace them with “Islamic states.” This is what we are doing.

The first thing to do is stop bombing people, but that, of course, would mean reining the military machine, our very essence. The last time it was reined in during the late 1960s it reacted by breaking down the “liberal” character of the US and creating the neo-liberal war machine which extracts all public resources, even states.

Remember Curtis “bomb them back to the stone age” LeMay? We bombed the shit out of Vietnam (2 million dead) and IndoChina (4 million dead) and for what? I always thought our bombing of Cambodia produced the terrorism of Pol Pot.

Now our bombing is producing ISIS. We reproduce ourselves. Our country is a militarized state. We have alienated young people who kill indiscriminately in places they know, schools, churches, movie theaters. Our foreign policy reproduces this society overseas: militarism. Now that France is acting like us (instead of disagreeing about Iraq) creating a police state at home and bombing overseas, we will no doubt all say, “Je Suis Paris.”

I’m also not sure about the Irish desire for inclusion into US society. There was a significant section of Irish-America whose first allegiance was to Ireland from at least the 1850s to the 1920s.

Assimilation into the Protestant ruling class’s Gilded Age was not possible. Irishmen like Terence Powderly did his best with the Knights of Labor, but at the same time he was national treasurer of Clan na Gael, the revolutionary underground supporting an Irish Republic.

Perhaps it was different for you, but I grew up in a closed Irish Catholic wrapper designed to avoid “inclusion” which, in America, gave me a bigoted and racist world view until the Peace Corps and Vietnam broke it open.

So, the “light at the end of the tunnel” you are looking for will have to wait until we stop bombing others. Until then, here’s a poem by Warsa Shire:

Later that night

I held an atlas in my lap

ran my fingers across the

whole world

and whispered

where does it hurt?


It answered



Dan Leahy, a Westside resident, is currently living in Ireland and reading Irish political history.

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