Shaun McDaid
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Pogroms, presence, myth and memory
August 1969 and the outbreak of the Northern Ireland conflict
in Troubles of the past?
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This chapter explores processes of collective memorialisation in relation to the violence in Northern Ireland of August 1969. In so doing, it explores the speeches and statements of republican politicians as well as drawing on historical theory to provide suggestions why these events were remembered. The central argument of the chapter is that the commemoration of ‘1969 as pogrom’ is driven by what Eelco Runia (2006) has defined as ‘parallel processing’, which sees a collective ‘remembering or subconscious re-enactment of past events in a new context a “compulsion to repeat”’. In this case, the collective memory of the events of the 1920s ‘stowed away’ into the then present and provided a particular prism through which the events of 1969 came to be remembered. The chapter concludes by considering the implications of this phenomenon for initiatives that attempt to deal with the legacies of past violence in Northern Ireland. But the lessons might equally apply in other international settings where the memory of ethnic violence is central to contemporary politics, such as the Balkans, which is discussed in the above-mentioned work of Runia.

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Troubles of the past?

History, identity and collective memory in Northern Ireland


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