Why the Irish shouldn’t riot.


Not the actions of real citizens who deserve the title.

An ongoing theme which I have seen on the internet as well as print media is the seemingly vexing question of why the Irish haven’t rioted in response to the betrayal they have suffered at the hands of their government. After all the Greeks rioted so why haven’t the Irish?

First of all do the people asking this question know what a riot is?  A riot is not a group of angry protesters screaming defiance at an injustice.  It is not an orderly procession of hundreds of people, peacefully and legally showing their dissatisfaction in a unified and legal manner.

No, a riot is chaos itself given flesh, wearing boots and taking a stroll through a formerly peaceful city’s streets.  A riot is typically a large group, or multiple smaller groups of people clashing violently with the police and sometimes even the army.  A riot is fear and anger unleashed.  Literally unleashed, as in all restraint removed.  Or to put it another way people rarely die in a protest, people often do die in a riot.  Riots have other very dangerous attributes, they don’t have a knowledge of geography so they tend to spread.  Rioters usually stop caring about other peoples property.  The end result being smashed windows, torched cars even physical assaults on the uninvolved.  As I said chaos given flesh.

Well now we’ve explained what a riot is without using legal jargon  let’s look at this from four angles legality, social, economics and political shall we?  Oh and more importantly show why we Irish must not riot.

While Irish men and women absolutely do have the right to protest they do not have the right to riot.  Rioting is by it’s nature a violent action and violence off the G.A.A. or rugby pitch is not allowed in Ireland.  I mean for goodness sake strictly speaking it’s considered assault to spank your lover here.

Socially a riot would lead to fear stalking the Irish streets in a way it hasn’t in decades.  That much violence let slip in one place in one day would quite simply make some of the citizens of Dublin too scared to leave their homes for days, maybe even weeks.  Yes I did say weeks.  Riots as shown many times in other countries can have a lifespan far in excess of what anyone might have expected them to have.

The fear given flesh by the actions of rioters would keep people from going about their lives.  That means that people may well stop shopping for anything beyond the absolute essentials.  Nights out on the town would be skipped for as long as the violence runs through the streets.  Tourists and business people seeing on their local news what’s happening on Dublin’s streets would cancel trips and rightly so, visitors to our shores should be greeted warmly, not with raised fists and voices.  In short  a riot would tear at the heart of what  remains of Dublin’s day to day commerce.

Of course that does not even touch on the cost of the post-riot clean up.  The cost in insurance.  Health care for those injured.  Danger pay for police and army personnel.

And what good would all the anger and violence do politically?  Have you ever heard the phrase “not a sausage”?

When it’s all over the politicians will tut and scold the county in the news bulletins shown in every country in Europe, and more than a few beyond that.  Our vampire banks will still suck us dry.  The IMF will still be here with the cash the country needs to pay it’s bills, though they won’t be quite as willing to believe anything we say ever again.  The E.U. will be polite and use what happened as even more leverage to force even more concessions we can ill afford from our nation.

But worse than all that is that as a nation we’ll be a laughing stock worldwide. Right now our political elite is rightly derided internationally.  The same goes with our bankers and all the others who dragged us all into penury.  But so far the ordinary Irishman on the street can only be viewed as the picture of restraint, the good citizen and admittedly in some corners I’m certain as mere sheep being shorn.

Well anyone who looks at Irish history, or even anyone who walks through Dublin City at closing time will see the one thing we’re not is a herd of placid sheep.  Give the Irish a reason to act with violence and we will.  Like any nation violence is always just beneath the surface of our civilised veneer.  But the painful truth is that we as a nation are acting responsibly.

For the sake of everyone be a good citizen and use your vote.

Yes I said responsibly.

Even as I have never been more ashamed of our country’s leaders I have never been more proud of our ordinary citizens.  I have never been more proud to be Irish than right now.  As a nation we could have gone Greek and lashed out violently against those who have stolen our futures from us.  But we haven’t instead we have as a nation waited with patience to have our say.  And on Friday the 25th of February we will overthrow our government legally, peacefully and in the only way that responsible citizens of a functioning democratic republic ever should.  At the polling booth.

So in the end putting aside the legal, social, economic and political reasons not to riot the main reason is this.  By being responsible for these many horrifying months we have shown the world how a civilised nation acts in times of trouble.  And by voting and thus legally overthrowing the government which has let us down we show the world how democracy must work.

So why haven’t the Irish rioted?  I’d like to think it’s because somewhere deep inside our cultural subconscious we Irishmen and woman have decided to set an example to the rest of the world.  Not bad for a nation that’s really only 80-odd years old.

For an alternatice take on this subject check out this article over on Consider the Tea Cosy

2 Responses to “Why the Irish shouldn’t riot.”

  1. Thought this might be interesting to you based on this- it’s another post about voting and how it’s bloody well important. Damnit.


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