A people without a name

It seems to me that the root of many of Northern Ireland’s problems is that Huns do not have a well-defined sense of communal identity. For the last hundred years or so it boiled down to the Orange Order – understandable given the Order’s involvement in the foundation of NI and the UUP’s political hegemony. But the OO is too narrow a strand to support the weight of an entire culture, and is in many ways a relic of a bygone age.

Huns opposed the Irish-nationalist thesis, but at the same time they also rejected wholesale the idea of separate identities. Not only did they stand apart from the “Irish” (Taig) ethnic identity, but they did not expend much energy developing one of their own, instead falling back on religious (Protestant) or political (Unionist) identities; or the vague concept of “Britishness”. But to most, the shared “British” identity is one that is (to varying degrees) held in addition to their ethnic ones – there are many black and Asian minorities in England who would never consider themselves English but are quite happy to be British, as to them it is bereft of ethnic overtones.

To Huns however, Britishness became by default their ethnic identity. The English share this confusion, but they have the excuse of being numerous. When the English decide to define Britishness, the others have the option of either going along or (increasingly these days) opting out. When Huns attempt to define Britishness, the others look at them funny and wonder if they fell on their heads trying to kiss the Blarney stone. By failing to define their own ethnic identity, they have ended up in the uncomfortable place where outside forces define their identity for them.

That’s why we Huns need a name, so we can start defining ourselves for a change.

(This post is based on a comment I made on IJP’s blog)

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6 thoughts on “A people without a name

  1. Thanks. Yours seems to have become the venue of choice for Slugger’s disaffected. ;-) I’m afraid I can’t find the time (or energy) to blog on a regular schedule…

    I’m wondering if the relative harmony of our various off-slugger sites is due to them being safely ghettoised. IJP seems to get unionist-only contributors and you seem to get the other side, for example. Should Slugger be classed as an interface area?

  2. LOL,
    IJP’s site is good for a read but he hardly seems to make up his mind what he is, He’s a bit too conservative for me.
    I actually want my site to be open to all. I am a left of centre republican in the true sense of the word, I’m not in any party and I probably would get expelled for indiscipline if I was!
    I do value opinions other than my own though, thats the tricky bit, getting them to join in

  3. Indeed. If a newbie comes to the site and sees it’s full of themmuns, he has a choice. Come in and walk on eggshells or pass by on the other side. It’s the same choice we all make when we check out a pub in an unfamiliar part of town. Unfortunately people are lazy.

    And then of course Slugger seems to attract those who enjoy a good riot.

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