Something of a furor has apparently erupted around the BBC referring to Kashmir as being ‘Indian-occupied.’ The brouhaha resulted when a Hindu film director Shekhar Kapur, quoted in a RT article, posed an irate question to the BBC asking why, if they call Kashmir ‘Indian-occupied’, they don’t also refer to Northern Ireland, or Ulster, as ‘British-occupied.’
First of all, Mr. Kapur is simply trying to score a rhetorical point against the BBC or Britain itself, calling “hypocrisy”, because Kapur himself is a Hindu loyalist, though he is described in the RT article as a ‘British-Indian.’ There is no such thing; he is British or he is Indian. Choose one.
According to Kapur’s biographies (there are several online, with differing information) he was definitely born in India, and educated there, then went to London. Some sources say he lives in New York. Or he is reported to live, or have lived in the Philippines, or to be back in India. It appears to me he is one of those ‘world citizens’ who jets back and forth between various countries. Where are his allegiances? Judging by this controversy he identifies with is birthplace, India, as he is defending that country vs. Kashmir.
But Kapur is drawing parallels between the India-Kashmir question and the Northern Ireland/Ulster situation. Some online commenters say that Ulster is ‘under British occupation.’ Well, if that is so, then the United States is under European occupation, with its ‘Native American’ inhabitants lacking their rightful sovereignty. After all, the ancestors of the Ulster folk, (who are mainly descended from Scots and English border-county settlers), have been in Ulster for about 400 years — as long as those of us with early colonist ancestry have had a presence on this continent. So if Ulster is ‘under British occupation’ then so is this country ‘under occupation’. That’s a much closer parallel than the Kashmir-India situation.
I’ve often wondered why the Irish so insistently claim that the ‘Brits’ must get off their island because the Irish were there first. The American Indians could make the same claim, and some do. Are we prepared to renounce our claims and go back to Europe? Do you think Europe wants us all back?
The way of the world has always been that those who can hold and keep a place are the rightful owners, not just those whose ancestors were there first. Maybe an ideal world would not be thus, but this world has never been perfect and — news flash — it never can be.
The English, or more properly the Anglo-Normans have been in Ireland since the 12th century. The Twelfth Century. That’s what, nine centuries ago? Nearly a millennium. Nine hundred years.
And if four centuries is not enough to consider the Ulster folk as natives, then just how many centuries, or millennia, does it take? Stubbornness is one thing, but this goes beyond stubbornness.
There is an Irish Republic only because the British got tired of being harried by Irish uprisings and agreed to give them a Republic — which the Irish are now, ironically, willingly ceding to Third Worlders. Ironic in the extreme, and exasperating. How are the present colonizers of Ireland preferable to the Anglo-Normans or their English successors? Apparently their presence is more agreeable to the Irish, so I can’t waste many tears on the fate of Ireland since they are willing to be colonized and overwhelmed numerically, eventually.
The fact is, I happen to like the Irish as people but I fail to understand the mindset at work there.
In my opinion the Ulster folk have a long-established right to be in Ireland. Where would they go? They are much like the Boers; what country would take them in? Not the USA because we give preference to third worlders, as does Canada, and the rest of the Western World. The Ulster folk have a right to exist and Northern Ireland has been their home as long as this continent has been the home of my lineage out of Britain.
Americans for some reason — perhaps because of the very vocal presence of so many Irish-Americans — tend to have a knee-jerk reaction in favor of the Irish, with no regard for the actual history of the conflict there, with little awareness of what the issues are.
One more postscript:with all due respect, to me it’s almost as strange that so many English or British harbor a hatred for Normans and anyone of known Norman descent (which includes many Americans, if they only knew it). I say the same thing here: 1066 was a long, long, time ago, long enough to count the Normans and their descendants as belonging in Britain as much as anyone else. If people of Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, Cornish, can be included, why not those of Norman descent? The Normans, after all, were close kindred genetically, and apparently there is no easy way to distinguish those of Norman descent based on DNA.
When one’s country is being inundated with very disparate peoples it would seem an inopportune time to ‘Other’ the people who have been part of the population for a thousand years.
If it’s still acceptable to hate the Normans for whatever reason, then I guess the Irish can go on hating Strongbow and those who followed him, after all these centuries. How long can these hatreds be kept going? Wouldn’t burying the hatchet be a good move in this troubled time?
I suppose, if millennia-long grudges are the thing, then the American Indians have a right to hate Whites and to demand the whole North American continent back because — it isn’t fair that the other guys won.
Meanwhile, Mr. Kapur, the ‘British-Indian’ director, in trying to make a point in favor of his actual countrymen in India has made a historical faux pas; if only people could learn some historical lessons by this silly controversy.