Is our Independence Day worthy of a national holiday?
What is so great about an "Independence Day"? Independence from what? What are countries that celebrate this day not dependent on anymore? I think it could be summed up in one word; tyranny.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s definition of tyranny is:
1 : oppressive power every form of tyranny over the mind of man— Thomas Jefferson especially : oppressive power exerted by government the tyranny of a police state.
Like the Americas and India, Ireland was a colonial stronghold. It's not like these lands were not inhabited previously by the British Empire extending its reach over which the sun never set. It was an empire run on slavery and ending in bloodshed. To be no longer dependent on the say-so of an absentee landlord could be described as freedom. Freedom of speech, religion, assembly and bodily autonomy. It’s no small thing to be able to exercise these freedoms.
So how did we win our freedom? We are taught in school that the 1916 Rising led to the foundation of the State. This is true provided you don’t ask any more questions beyond that. The Free State was a corporation set up by George V to pay for England’s war debts and pensions. Each Teachta Dála swore an oath to the king, his heirs and successors.
But what happened between 1916 and 1922? If you didn’t know better you would think that the Free State was the continuation of the provisional government declared on the steps of the G.P.O. Few are aware of the 1918 32-county election won by an IRB Sinn Féin majority on the grounds that a Republic would be created. That Sovereign Republic sat and declared its independence on 21st January 1919 with many of the Teachtaí Dála éireann (the official abbreviation was TDé until the creation of the Free State corporation) were absent due to still serving time in prison since the Rising.