A St. Patrick’s Day (or any day) TV viewing recommendation

If you subscribe to Netflix and have any interest in understanding modern Ireland, by all means start watching the 2 seasons of the series Rebellion. A number of interesting and very troubling aspects of contemporary Ireland, especially its political support for Palestinians over Israel, and its general leftward tendencies are illuminated.

Update: The Gatestone Institute offers an example of this problem with contemporary Ireland:

Ireland's legislative lower house (Dáil) on January 29 approved a bill that would make it a crime for Irish citizens to import or sell any product produced by Israelis in areas located beyond the 1949 armistice lines, most of which, such as Jerusalem, were actually liberated by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War from their illegal occupation by Jordan in 1948-49. Pictured: Leinster House, seat of the Irish Houses of Parliament

The series covers the 1916 Easter Rising in season one, and the struggle against the compromise reached creating the Irish Free State as part of the UK and the effort to establish the independent Irish Republic in season two. Both seasons teach history through the eyes of fictional characters who are right in the middle of the action, although real historical figures appear as supporting characters, tying the fiction to real events, but enjoying the freedom to make up dramatic events and dialogue for the principal characters.

There is an Upstairs/Downstairs element of showing life among the rich and powerful, paralleling it and contrasting it with life at the bottom, creating a panorama of Dublin a century ago, a city whose slums were considered among the worst in Europe, while its stately neighborhoods of Georgian homes of the wealthy were, and remain today, some of the handsomest anywhere.

One thing the series shows clearly is the radical leftist – Leninist, in fact – element of fervor among many of the rebels. They operated as urban guerillas inspired by a mix of ethnic rebellion and radical socialist ideology -- a toxic combination that bedeviled the world (China, Algeria, Peru, and many other places) for much of the subsequent twentieth century. The leaders of the rebellion were caught and hanged, but their names now adorn many of the principal streets and public buildings in Dublin. I see their radicalism as an unfortunate component of contemporary Irish nationalism.

The series is produced by RTE (Radio Television Eire), the government-owned broadcaster, and the Brits are clearly the bad guys, even though a number of British characters are developed as genuine humans, not cardboard villains. The overall quality of the writing, acting, and production design are very high, making this an engaging and entertaining history lesson. One conclusion that is inescapable is that the famous British devotion to “fair play” did not extend to dealing with Irish rebels. But the series also shows that the brutality was no limited to one side.

If St. Patrick’s Day has kindled any interest in the real Ireland, as opposed to the land of leprechauns, give yourself a treat.

If you subscribe to Netflix and have any interest in understanding modern Ireland, by all means start watching the 2 seasons of the series Rebellion. A number of interesting and very troubling aspects of contemporary Ireland, especially its political support for Palestinians over Israel, and its general leftward tendencies are illuminated.

Update: The Gatestone Institute offers an example of this problem with contemporary Ireland:

Ireland's legislative lower house (Dáil) on January 29 approved a bill that would make it a crime for Irish citizens to import or sell any product produced by Israelis in areas located beyond the 1949 armistice lines, most of which, such as Jerusalem, were actually liberated by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War from their illegal occupation by Jordan in 1948-49. Pictured: Leinster House, seat of the Irish Houses of Parliament

The series covers the 1916 Easter Rising in season one, and the struggle against the compromise reached creating the Irish Free State as part of the UK and the effort to establish the independent Irish Republic in season two. Both seasons teach history through the eyes of fictional characters who are right in the middle of the action, although real historical figures appear as supporting characters, tying the fiction to real events, but enjoying the freedom to make up dramatic events and dialogue for the principal characters.

There is an Upstairs/Downstairs element of showing life among the rich and powerful, paralleling it and contrasting it with life at the bottom, creating a panorama of Dublin a century ago, a city whose slums were considered among the worst in Europe, while its stately neighborhoods of Georgian homes of the wealthy were, and remain today, some of the handsomest anywhere.

One thing the series shows clearly is the radical leftist – Leninist, in fact – element of fervor among many of the rebels. They operated as urban guerillas inspired by a mix of ethnic rebellion and radical socialist ideology -- a toxic combination that bedeviled the world (China, Algeria, Peru, and many other places) for much of the subsequent twentieth century. The leaders of the rebellion were caught and hanged, but their names now adorn many of the principal streets and public buildings in Dublin. I see their radicalism as an unfortunate component of contemporary Irish nationalism.

The series is produced by RTE (Radio Television Eire), the government-owned broadcaster, and the Brits are clearly the bad guys, even though a number of British characters are developed as genuine humans, not cardboard villains. The overall quality of the writing, acting, and production design are very high, making this an engaging and entertaining history lesson. One conclusion that is inescapable is that the famous British devotion to “fair play” did not extend to dealing with Irish rebels. But the series also shows that the brutality was no limited to one side.

If St. Patrick’s Day has kindled any interest in the real Ireland, as opposed to the land of leprechauns, give yourself a treat.