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Monday, March 11, 2019

Rebellion/Resistance: Brilliantly Sobering Lessons

A superbly powerful two-season mini-series on Netflix - or maybe two linked mini-series - that details the Dublin uprising in 1916, and then, with an almost completely new set of characters, the move towards independence in 1920, also bloody, but more on an individual than a citizen army versus the British military basis.

These historical dramas are, if nothing else, a vivid lesson on the British not being as civilized and reasonable as many in America deem them to have been.  At least, not all of the British.  Their treatment of Irish prisoners is the kind of thing, I'm sorry to say, we here in America associate with Nazis in Germany.

Germany does play an important role in this story.  Britain was at war with Germany in 1916 - the First World War - and we tend to think of the Germans as the bad guys, even though Germany versus England in that war was constitutional monarchy vs. constitutional monarchy, with no Nazis yet rearing their heads in Germany.  From the point of view of the Irish, who were open to any support for their independence from England, Germany was a likely ally.

The characters in both series were excellent, usually in shades of grey rather than black and white.  We have reasonable Brits and trigger-happy Irish, along with the more usual brutal British and heroic Irish.  Women also play a major role in both stories, being treated more equally by the Irish than by the British, an egalitarian characteristic that typifies many revolutions.

It's sobering to think that this situation has yet to be totally settled, even today, with Northern Ireland still part of the U.K.  If you're in the mood for some trenchant and educational television, outstandingly acted, these two mini-series are highly recommended.

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