Madam, – I refer to John Waters’s letter (August 13th), excoriating An Post’s decision to release a stamp commemorating the Plantation of Ulster. He compares the release to a hypothetical stamp, produced by the ANC, welcoming the English and Dutch colonisation of South Africa.
I think Mr Waters has confused commemoration with celebration. The stamp is not a celebration but a reflection of our history. Without recognising our past, we can never truly embrace our culture. The plantation is a key element of our nation’s genealogy. If we ignore that, we may as well stop speaking English (without any real alternative), pretend the GPO was never built (and blot out the Rising), change our legal system to the Code Napoleon (the French seemed to like it), and give up listening to British pop music (perhaps an improvement there).
We should also, probably, seek reparations from the Vikings, tear down the last of the Norman castles, exile the descendants of the Armada, and scorn the Romans for even looking at us.
If we, as a society, ever want to have a mature relationship with our own culture, our history and even, God forbid, our neighbours, we need to give up this chip-on- the-shoulder mentality that won’t even allow “the English” a bit of room on a stamp. Our history, like every nation’s, is full of tragedy and triumph. Side-stepping either is simply ridiculous. – Is mise,