When most people in the western world hear that we fight turf wars in Ireland, they imagine us fighting back against so-called trans-exclusive reactionary feminists (aka TERFs).
When Vladimir Putin heard that we were fighting over territory, he probably thought, “Ah, yes, and that’s why the West will eventually tear itself apart. I don’t even have to try to conquer them. If I stay in charge, they’re going to destabilize the whole continent because of this JK Rowling. They do it to themselves, with their ridiculous sensitivity to people outside the heteronormative paradigm.
“In the meantime, I will continue to shove Ukrainian refugees at them and let them argue about how best to take care of them. Soft, hypersensitive Western fools!” Meanwhile, we’re quite comfortably arguing about turf, which is good old-fashioned folksy Barney like we used to have.
It’s a nice nostalgic culture war that makes everyone think of the redheaded kids with the donkey on the John Hinde postcard. And they’re colorful characters who rant about city dwellers that real Irish compatriots don’t understand.
Unlike, say, war or a pandemic, the rules of this conflict are simple and familiar. It’s a moment of togetherness, like a singsong where everyone knows the words. And while the stakes are high for some, most people don’t live in fear of either outcome. It plays into our longing for things to go back to the way they used to be, when the news was sometimes a little crazy and colourful, and then you could go about your day without thinking too much about it.
For two years we have waited for the pandemic to be over, for normality to return. And then we waited for the war in Ukraine to be over and for normality to return.
In both cases, we’ve ignored build-up as much as possible. Sure that would never happen. And in both cases if it did happen, we figured three weeks should do it.
In either case, it’s probably just as well that we didn’t realize the true enormity of what was about to happen.
The next thing that couldn’t possibly happen is France toppling the center in favor of the far right, masquerading as a cost-of-living candidate. Or for the richest man in the world, who most would agree is a maniac to seize control of the most influential channel of political and social communication.
The wars don’t end. They’re probably just getting started. Our world is becoming more of a sci-fi comic every day. And we don’t believe it until we see it. Global warming can’t possibly happen, can it? What, aren’t you exaggerating a bit? If it really happened, we would do more about it, wouldn’t we?
And if Russia really was that dangerous to the rest of us, half of Europe wouldn’t be totally dependent on Russians to fuel its planet-destroying fossil fuel industry, right?
The turf wars are all a lot of fun now – but maybe they’re just the tip of the melting iceberg. And perhaps we also need to be quite sure where civil service ends and government begins.
You never know when these things might matter in a world where the wars are just beginning.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/our-kind-of-turf-war-an-easy-and-familiar-one-41560510.html Our style of turf wars: simple and familiar