There are few people today who were alive in 1916. It's hard to imagine the world that existed then.
There were cars, but they were brittle and primitive things, far out of the reach of the common man. Rarer still were airplanes, which were delicate and experimental, nothing like the immense jets of today. If you wanted to cross the Atlantic, the only possible way to do it was by ship.
On Europe's Western edge was Ireland, an small island nation firmly in the grasp of England. Ireland was officially part of the United Kingdom, which controlled a British Empire that still included within it the impossibly vast colony of India, as well as immense possessions in Africa, and throughout Asia. The sun never set on that British Empire.
The European and world catastrophe that was World War I
was well underway. The British forces, including many volunteers from every part of Ireland, were well into the slaughter. The Brits were on the right side of this conflict, but it was not as morally clear cut a war as was WWII.
In 1916, Ireland was a poor province inside a United Kingdom that it had never joined voluntarily. Many decades had passed since the dreadful Penal Laws
, but there would have been elders who remembered the Great Famine
. Ireland had been under the British boot for 700 years, give or take a century. There were many atrocities, which won't be dealt with here ; there are many and better sources for historical information.
So in 1916, with the Great War raging, armed Irish rebels saw England's difficulty, WWI, as " Ireland's Opportunity " and made an armed stand against British rule.They seized locations in Dublin as part of the Easter Rising
. The symbolism of the fight for a reborn, free, Ireland on Easter was not a coincidence. The fact that this rising was doomed to defeat was irrelevant. Irish men had taken a stand for freedom, as they had throughout the dark centuries, and here they set into motion a chain of events that was to lead to a free and independent Ireland not long after.
There is a great deal of material on the Irish Easter Rising on United Irelander
both today, and in posts for weeks leading up it.
There's a time for war, and a time for peace. The USA won its freedom through armed struggle, and so did Ireland. Without the Easter Rising and many other armed risings, Ireland would still be a British province, and a poor one.
Great changes have taken place over the past 90 years, and the relationship between Ireland and England/Britain now is very substantially a good one. But, that good relationship of equals, and the freedom that led to it, would not have happened if a few brave men and true had not taken a stand, 90 springtimes ago, against impossible odds, on Easter.
Happy Easter to all.