Intriguing questions come up in class like this one all the time but with my timid self lacks the courage to raise a hand and answer the question. Instead, I sit there nodding my head along with the other’s response. It is not because I do not have something to say, it’s that tend I over think my answer, my brain goes into overdrive when speaking to a class and my mouth moves ten times slower making me stutter and choke up. After a certain amount of times of embarrassing myself, I have just kept my answers to myself.
How do people who technically live within an empire also live against it or outside of it?
As this question was opened to the class I thought about it for a while, trying to figure out what it was referring to as Empire. In this case, ‘Empire’ is a general term for anything that can be defined to ’empire’. In class, the independence of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom was mentioned. When I heard Northern Ireland I was confused as to how it related to the topic of the question asked because I feel like it is not a weak country but definitely not a dominant country either. The situation in Northern Ireland was further explained and it clicked in my head I understood the question.
Now, back to Northern Ireland, the geography of this country is key. It is located just slightly above the United Kingdom. Ireland has been trying to gain their independence from the United Kingdom although they have failed several times the citizens keep pushing for independence.
Their resistance to the United Kingdom ‘empire’ comes in many forms such as culture and traditions. By doing this they show themselves as their own nation.
As well as resisting they also accept the empire. English surpassed their native language of Gaelic. It is known across the country that is Gaelic is spoken between the poor. In other words, if you speak Gaelic, you are poor. It is interesting to not try to save the native language because a different language deters away from the native cultures, causing the native language to become a possible ‘ruin’ within an empire.
Like other countries, Northern Ireland has its differences between the religion but in this country, the religions are on separate sides of the spectrum. The Protestants are the dominant race and with that being said they are known as professionals and owners of the land. They consider themselves as being part of the United Kingdom by not engaging in their native language. Catholics, on the other hand, do not consider themselves part of the UK, they still speak Gaelic not fluently but do have that language. As I mentioned above those who speak Gaelic make up the lower-middle and low class.
As language provides an access to voice out one’s opinion it can also be a barrier to fully explain your ideas and share your perspective with others. When one’s voice is forgotten their resistance within an empire may be weaker than others but, they are technically considered as living against their empire.
Sluka, Jeff, Cultures of Terror and Resistance in Northern Ireland, Political and Legal Anthropology Review, (May 1995).