I’m in Ireland as I write this and having my first palpable experience of understanding imperialism. I’m from a country that was part of the Empire – but we shook it off – rather a lot sooner than this country managed it – so the effects in my country would seem to have pretty much worn off. We celebrate our independence while simultaneously expressing profound anglophilia. My people will wear their red white and blue while going mad for Downton Abbey. Meanwhile, closer to the bone – Ireland (well, a part of Ireland) is independent and celebrating this year the 100th anniversary of the uprising the made that possible. But the culture is so intertwined with English culture, it is hard for me, as an American outsider, to separate the two.
Here in Dublin, surrounded by Boots and Tesco and Marks & Spencer, I feel as much in England as I feel in London. And I find myself wrestling with conflicting feelings – a sense of solidarity with the people of Ireland and all their independence but also a confusion – due to my experience of Dublin as being very much just like a neighborhood of London I hadn’t visited before.
Has England left the Republic of Ireland only to re-invade economically? And if England is a corporate colonizer then America too is a corporate colonizer. There are as many American corporations here, I’d wager. Are England and America in an imperialist corporate competition for the soul of Dublin? I wonder who will win.