Shame on Trinity

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Getting in bed with Israeli apartheid is not a noble enterprise. Participating Irish universities should be ashamed.

Britain’s First and Last Colony

•February 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Repression in Northern Ireland by Eugene Egan looks at the current detention without trial case of Martin Corey, and provides an historical sketch of British rule on the island.

Right Action

•January 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Margaretta D’Arcy exemplifies the principle of right action. As the 79-year-old peace activist sits in Limerick prison for a 2012 protest at Shannon airport, her commitment to opposing use of Irish territory for U.S. military staging relies on international law–notably violated by both the Irish and U.S. governments.

Bogside Belated

•October 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

The official inquiry into Bloody Sunday has confirmed that thirteen unarmed men were murdered by the British Army at the Derry civil rights march in 1972. Whether prosecutions by the Police Service of Northern Ireland will follow is anybody’s guess.

Stack is Back

•October 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Eddie Stack, storyteller extraordinaire from County Clare, is back. God, I love his blog.

Child’s Play

•April 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Keeping Irish alive is child’s play.


•March 1, 2012 • Leave a Comment

It is not uncommon among humanist milieus and publications to encounter arguments against tribalism as backward, hostile, and ignorant. Indeed, humanism is often posited as the antithesis of tribalism.Yet, some tribalism has led the way in the evolution of human rights.

The 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was the result of three decades of work begun by the World Council of Indigenous Peoples meeting in British Columbia in 1979. What could be more cosmopolitan than tribal leaders and scholars from all continents unifying to protect conservation cultures from states, markets,and transnational criminal enterprise?

Tribalism and humanism are, of course, not mutually exclusive. As some humanists observe, respectful relations based on generosity are key.

With reciprocity as an operating principle, tribal sovereignty and identity can be part of the strengthening of humanity through diversity. Multiculturalism, as such, brings with it the traditional knowledge essential to the survival of humankind.

One of the things the Internet has helped facilitate is a shared universal identity as members of a species under threat from man-made disasters: climate change, microbial metamorphosis, and nuclear annihilation comprising the most overwhelming. Adapting organizationally to meet these challenges requires cooperation, even beginning from a point of self-interest. Solidarity in this sense, forms a nexus where self-interest and universal demands overlap; working with others who demonstrate a commitment to the shared values inherent in bedrock first nations is simply common sense. Were this not so, tribal societies would not have bothered to develop such inclusive global networks in order to deal with these challenges. What is holding us back is not the extant aboriginal entities that preceded modern states, markets and religions by millenia, but rather the immature industrialized societies that have largely supplanted them.

Tribal heritage — including original languages, songs, dance and art — contain within them the stories of the journey of man. More than anything else, they are essential to what it means to be human. Erosion of this identity through diaspora, industrialization, and colonization has diminished our collective humanity. The recovery of this heritage in the Americas and elsewhere has begun to heal the historical cultural traumas, and indeed, formal tribal engagement with international institutions like the EU, UN and OAS, has demonstrated the benefit of formerly excluded traditional knowledge to the survival of humankind.

Even for Euro-Americans, discovering tribal heritage can be an enriching and enlightening experience. One which illustrates the importance of autonomy in such things as education and governance for ancient nations like Sami, Scotland, Pais Basque and Slovenia. Celebrating diversity in tribal heritage is the foundation of multiculturalism; mandating the homogeneity of industrialism is not only anathema to indigenous values, it is also suicidal for all humankind.

In the ongoing conflict between industrial and indigenous societies, it is helpful to remember who initially attacked whom. Conflict resolution requires acknowledging past wrongs by making amends in the present. Until industrial societies stop attacking tribal peoples, nothing fundamental can be achieved by international institutions.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.