Friday, 14 September 2012

Unintended Politics

No, this was never meant to be a political blog, I honestly didn't intend to talk about politics, but recent events have forced my hand.

And it's all about a knitting pattern, Irish Cable Bomb, a pair of shorts.  earlier versions mentioned that the name is a riff on the Irish Car Bomb drink. Knitpicks have renamed it as Irish Cable Shorts.

Now the Irish Car Bomb cocktail is not a cocktail you would really ever get in Ireland.  At the very least it's a racist stereotype at the worst it's a trivialisation of the pain and suffering that was the Troubles.

The "Troubles" are a raw issue in Ireland.  In my name people murdered other people, often by blowing them up. Often the people were going about ordinary days (see the Omagh Bombing).  We had bombings in Dublin & Monaghan but mostly it was in the Six Counties.  While they claimed it was in my name I never felt that anything justified this.  It was never in my name for me.

The Troubles left scars, not only with other people but every Irish person has a story about what went on.

I remember my mother in tears as she prayed, during her 25th Wedding Anniversary Mass, celebrated by a priest family friend who was based in Belfast.  I had said as an aside earlier that day that none of her children had known peace in the North, I was born in 1970.  I keep seeing that expression of pain and suffering on her face, every time I think about that pattern.  That and the voice of the man who lost his daughter in Omagh as he held her hands, as I write this, tears are beginning to form.

I remember going to that priest's 25th Ordination Anniversary and being surprised at the amount of security on the building, and that was in the late 90s

I remember a friend being very stressed because she just got the last bus out of Belfast before the "Twelfth", I also remember when in July you would suddenly see an influx of Northern Registered Cars in Galway, as some of the more moderate people ran away from the violence that would erupt then.

I remember when I put a white ribbon on, when the Women's Peace Protest said "not in my name" and called for people to wear it, maybe I should start again.

My husband told me about being stopped and searched because he was going to a paintball game in the UK in the late 80s early 90s, when you could be stopped and detained for 48 hours for suspicion of being Irish.

If you want to know more about the conflict this is a good place to start.  The Irish Car Bomb Cocktail should be renamed and this racist trivialisation of pain and suffering should stop.

And it should never be used for a pattern name.

In fairness, the author and editor have apologised for any offence caused.  This does not stop it from being hurtful.

Since I wrote this on Friday they've changed the name to Bombshell Shorts.  I would like to thank them for listening.


  1. A very thoughtful post, I have to say. Although I never experienced any physical trauma, it was none the less worrying to cope with bomb threats and travel disruption in central London (where I worked in the late 70's-mid80's) Before that, after a bomber blew himself up in the stairwell of Coventry telephone exchange we telephonists were advised to shelter under the switchboards! I remember working in Northampton exchange and sheltering between the racks of switchboards during several bomb threats. The psychological fear is incomparable to physical pain - but you experience it just as much.
    As for the 'apology' - anyone can say sorry, but their subsequent actions will demonstrate the validity of that apology.

  2. Thanks. I didn't want to add to the ravelry thread because I don't think it's doing any good any more, I think that the designer and editor are entrenched and convinced that they're in the right.

    It's sad how they don't realise that it's ripping open memories that people prefer to leave in their subconscious.

    I thought I'd mention the apology, for accuracy and honesty.