Community. What is that? Will someone please tell me because I am sick to death of the hearing it. I’ve had enough of the media telling us we belong to this community or that community. Rubbish. Community is used to pigeon hole us, stick us somewhere nice and neat and perfect. Ruled and subjugated. Community is used to stir up resentment and bitterness and generate fake news about fake communities that end up on fake television debates which result in endless drivel in opinion columns with experts whose argument is based on a fallacy. I mention this because I recently watched a tv debate on the ‘rural community’ in Ireland. The whole programme was set up to create conflict between two communities that don’t even exist; urban and rural. Both sides of the argument debated ‘issues’ that have nothing to do with community but everything to do with market forces and the political system in which we live.
Let us not forget that we in Ireland inhabit a tiny island, all 4 million of us. We are a nation of people made up of from an infinite amount of historical movements, coincidences and accidents. Most of us live in large towns, villages or in the countryside. Our capital, Dublin, is the only real city on the island and is, quite frankly, tiny by any standard (upwards to 1.5 million). Yes, yes, we can call Cork a city but it’s not, it’s a town, as are Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Waterford. So, by that measure most of us live outside the city. Does that put us in the rural community or the urban community? Neither. Perhaps we belong in a micro urban community or a macro rural community? Maybe some PHD student would oblige us and do the necessary research, garner the statistics, draw up the graphs, write up the reports and present it to government who could then write up a policy document pronouncing a new way forward for the micro/macro generation. Failte Ireland could then brand us and sell us to the lowest bidder.
What is all this rubbish about rural communities anyway? Do they have something we don’t? Do they live in genteel tranquillity? Do they work for each other and the betterment of their parish? No they don’t. Not the rural Ireland I know.
Like most people in this country they’d be as quick to get one over on you as anyone else. The fact of the matter is that our fight is not with each other it is with the market system, it is with the government. And if you want to survive you have to work together, you have to sacrifice your needs for the greater need. You can’t just scream ‘my life is being ruined do something about it’ you have to organise yourself, get together, plan, share resources. Real communities are built on foundations, on structures, they do not simply exist, they need to be worked on, looked after. They need to grow. And fighting market forces, fighting corporations and the state is the biggest fight of all. So can we please stop arguing on the basis that there is a urban/rural community divide. There isn’t, it’s a chimera. The real fight is on your doorstep. It’s everyday. It’s your choice. Make your decision.
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