An open letter to Ireland: Dear whiny bitches…

 

Dear Whiny Bitches,

How’ve you been? I am good. Let’s talk about that recent survey. You know the one? Recently something called the Good Country Index released a survey stating that Ireland was the “best” country in the world. Now, there’s a been a lot of confusion on this so first of all let’s just clarify that the survey was not necessarily the best place in the world to live, the survey was actually trying to measure which countries contribute most to the welfare of humanity (in stuff like global aid, peace-keeping, diplomacy, fighting climate change and so on) and which countries are dragging everyone else down. Now, I’ll admit I was surprised that we got the number one spot, not stunned, but surprised. But sure, we do give a lot of money to overseas aid and we’ve been involved in UN Peacekeeping missions since the early sixties so fine, okay, I don’t think we’re a crazy choice. Let’s talk about crazy, though.

Specifically, let’s talk about your reaction to this news and the perception that Ireland has been deemed the “best” country in the world to live (prosperity, equality, health and wellbeing were all criteria so it’s not exactly inaccurate). The prevailing reaction has been incredulence. And that’s fine, that’s human nature. Any country would react the same. If you told the inhabitants of Narnia that their magical wonderland had been voted the greatest place in existence to live they’d look at you askance and say “What, this dump?”

"I mean, look at this crapheap."

“I mean, look at this shithole.”

But from a lot of you there’s been something a bit stronger, something close to rage. Apparently the the company that carried out this survey has been flooded with angry emails from Irish people expressing their outrage that they had DARED to suggest that Ireland is actually a pretty groovy place to spend eighty or ninety years. Now, do I think that Ireland is the greatest country on earth? Probably not. I’d say it’s probably one of the Scandies or Canada as they usually top these kinds of surveys in HDI, Quality of Life etc. But here’s the thing, in those same surveys, Ireland is usually right up there in the top ten. So this result is not really an outlier as some have suggested. It’s like the World Cup. Brazil may be the best team in the world but they don’t win every single time. But, dear whiny bitches, your insistence on reacting to this news like the compilers of the survey pissed on your mother’s grave has brought me to this conclusion.

I am going to smack you.

Like, all of you.

All 4.6 million of you.

I am going to go door to door, county to county, starting with Carlow and finishing with Wexford, and slap every last one of you.

Why?

Because your outrage and tutting and bellyaching over this actually makes me physically nauseous. Let me explain why.

See this?

mosaic-earth

 This is Earth in 2014. There has literally never been a better time and place to be a living human. Our species is healthier, living longer, killing each other with less frequency than at any other time in our history. Also, we have a genuine no-foolin’ internet.

See this?

Europe_satellite_orthographicThis is Western Europe. It is literally the greatest place on Earth to live in this, the greatest era of history to live (there’s some Russia in this picture, just ignore that part). This is not subjective. People live longer, happier, healthier lives here than anywhere else on Earth.

See this?

Gasp! It's hideous!

Gasp! It’s hideous!

This is where you live. Let’s review.

You live in a liberal democracy in the most prosperous continent on earth. Your media is free and open, and your elections are fair. No later than April 2016 you will got the polls and vote. The current government may lose and if they do they will pack up and go home without a single shot being fired. Your country has literally no enemies. You will never have to go to war. You will never starve to death. You live in a nation that has one of the richest literary traditions on earth and a long, vibrant, endlessly fascinating history. Also, the scenery’s kinda nice, right?

"Jeez, look at this shithole."

“Jeez, look at this shithole.”

 If you were to take every human being who has ever lived and rank them from most to least fortunate, simply by dint of being born in this country, in this time, you would be in the top billionth of a percent.  Which is why, dear whiny bitches, when you become outraged that someone has tried to tell you that you actually have it pretty good, you are displaying a cognitive dissonance that borders on the obscene.

You really have no idea, do you? Little game for you.

Pick a country at random. Pick any year in the last two millennia. Read up on what was going on in that country at that time and tell me if you’d rather live there or here. We can play all day.

My point is not that Ireland is the greatest country on Earth. My point is that if it’s not it’s close enough as makes no odds. And you know what one of the best things about is? You, whiny bitches. The Irish people. You’re wonderful. Everyone says so. Everyone I know who has visited this country has remarked on how friendly, open, warm, welcoming, funny and fundamentally decent the Irish people are, you miserable fucks. You make this country a wonderful place to live and I love you, you utter cunts.

And before you start, yes, thank you, I am aware that the country is not perfect. I know that there are problems and we shouldn’t ignore them and just pretend that everything’s hunky dory. But this…this has got to stop. It was fine during the famine, or the troubles, or even most of the twentieth century. There was plenty to complain about then. But by pretending that we are living in some kind of third world dystopia is hugely offensive to the billions of people worldwide who still, even in the twenty first century, deal with real, horrendous hardship. It’s fucking disgusting quite frankly. It’s like Donald Trump saying to a homeless man “You think you have it bad, I’ve got an itchy foot!”

“But Mouse what about the crash?”

The crash happened to everyone and we’ve come out of it better than a whole lot of countries. The republic still stands, we didn’t vote in any Nazis and the economy is coming out of the woods.

“But Mouse, what about our sclerotic political system?”

Please, tell an American how bad our political system is, they could probably use a chuckle.

“But Mouse, what about…”

STOP. Unless there’s been an ebola outbreak in Killybegs that no one’s told me about my point still stands. And you know what, if you want to take a minute to look around you, take a deep breath and say “You know what? This place ain’t so bad.” I promise it won’t hurt.

You may now leave your angry comment below. Go on. It’s a free country.

And it’s also pretty awesome.

252 comments

  1. Absolutely love this! I couldn’t agree more. As it happens I went to ireland on hols recently for the first time and was blown away by how amazing it was. In fact I wrote a blog and I also got freshly pressed for it! So thanks for the blog, and big congratulations on the exposure. Well deserved
    Here’s mine by the way http://gillycoad.wordpress.com/

    1. Read the whole thing in one sitting. Very funny, wonderfully written. Always good to have an outsiders perspective to remind you how utterly weird this place is.

  2. Could you use more Librarians in Ireland? I kind of really want to move there now 🙂
    I loved your post, it was so well written and I was imagining what your voice might sound like in my head as I was going along 🙂

    1. We are actually at peak librarian, I’m afraid (my friend has his degree in it and has been reduced to working in a bank like a savage). We’re always looking for call centre staff though, particularly if you have another European language. And I believe the department of whinging about whinging about whinging is expanding again.

  3. Totally love this!! I’m from Dublin but live in the UK and I am always so proud to tell people where I’m from. I get stopped in shops or in work out and about when people here my accent and tell me how much they love ireland or how much they want to go 🙂 It makes me so proud to be Irish!! Yes Ireland has its problems,but every country does. At the end of the day Ireland is a pretty wonderful place with amazing people and stunning views… I love it and will forever be proud to call it my home

      1. Me, too. I just returned from Scotland and was completely blown away – such beauty. I met a lady from Ireland who captivated me with her stories and tales of lush countryside and all manner of incredibleness. Looking forward to seeing it all for myself! Love your writing – your sense of humor.

  4. As a Skandi person I couldn’t agree more with ALL of this, this is brilliantly written and I think it’s totally fair in every sense. Trust me, Sweden is one of the best countries to live in, and start a family, many people move there just to raise their kids – even so I don’t think I’ve ever met one swedish person going “hey Sweden is actually a real nice to live in, gosh we’re lucky” – except myself. Now I’ve moved to London, and now more than ever I realise what lucky sods we are.
    My point is, I totally agree with you that this Grass-Is-Greener-syndrome is something everybody has.
    I love Ireland and I’ve always loved Ireland, and even thought I’ve only been once, my life long dream has been to move there and be an archaeologist. That’s why your words are so important, you’re defending my dream and my feelings as well as your own country and the mentality that people should have instead of only looking to the negative.
    Again VERY well written! Thank you ❤

  5. Ha! This is great!
    I’m American myself, but if not for the famine, my ancestors would have stayed where they were, and I’d be Irish. And you know, I often feel like I missed out somehow. But then, if I’d been born and raised in Ireland, I suppose I’d be saying “Look at this shithole” and I’d be wanting to live in a different country. So Ireland’s probably better off with me where I am.
    Great point about the political system. 🙂

  6. Oh this is so good! I love your writing style. I agree with you but it’s just that we always think of other countries being better than ours. The truth is each country has it’s own share of troubles.
    Fun read! 😀

  7. This is class! It felt like a heard this over a pint of Guinness 🙂 You style of writing is very captivating. In this era of skipping through things in 30 seconds span, I actually read through the whole bloody article. Genius!

  8. This post is great! I’m from America so if we “won” about 90% of us would say something along the lines of ‘Well of course, GO ‘Murica” (with far too many eagle photos added for pizzazz) In all honesty great post! I look forward to visiting Ireland one day!

  9. Your post, and some of the subsequent comments, especially regarding Arizona and John McCain, crack me up! I also enjoyed the healthy debates amongst other readers spurned by your piece. Love it and love the Irish bitches, even if they are whiners.

  10. Pingback: » Ireland
  11. Im Irish! But i was born in South Africa 😦 I just missed out on my ancestral visa by 1 generation :(((. Please have me back? It looks so beautiful there. I love you! And your story! And your Power Ranger background! And this —> ‘(there’s some Russia in this picture, just ignore that part).’ —> LOL 😥

  12. Absolutely love this!! Irish people are the kindest, friendliest, funniest, quirkiest people I know!! But, you are right, some of them really do love to whinge!!
    Well done you, love it!!!

  13. Speaking as an American, yes – I would love to hear how dysfunctional your government is. I’m so sick of hearing about mine. Congrats on making #1 on the list. Tell anyone who doesn’t like it – they can come live here. See what they say in six months.

  14. Though I am in complete agreement with your conclusions, I am not quite sure about how you have acquired a perspective of either Irish world or world history. Since you apparently didn’t, I do not feel compelled to fact-check what I am going to say here. But to put on equal footing matters of annihilation felt every second of living which affected through hunger and emigration forty percent of the population to “The Troubles” which took less than 2500 lives over a long period of time might be an affect on anyone born after September 11, 2001 (which in Syria alone has more than 67 percent of the population in flight). And so the affect of media instead of book-learning?
    I have met some Irish peace-keepers on the shores of the New Worlds, doing great great things. As a foreigner based upon my passport as well as the way i speak but with as much Irish blood as anyone else in a pub in Ireland, I have never dared raise there a brewing question I carry about how the Irish could in isolation sit as Hitler tried to take over Western Europe. Because I have this innate sense that the peace-keepers out there were quietly making amends for something that happened two generations ago.. And I think that it is the thoughtfulness of the Irish over both the past and the future that wins the hearts of all the strangers once removed by the annihilations of the innocent, in the past.

    1. If your question is “Why was Ireland neutral during the Second World War?” then there’s really no great mystery. We were a small nation with little military capability and Germany had not attacked us or any ally we had a treaty with. The US did not enter the war until they were directly attacked, and Britain and France only entered the war because they had an mutual defence agreement with Poland. Plus, it was a mere twenty years since we’d fought a war against England, the wounds from partition were still very fresh and it in the last world war the British had essentially used Irish troops as cannon fodder meaning that openly allying with Britain would have been very difficult for the Irish government. That said, it’s estimated that at least 50,000 Irish men fought for the allies (out of a population of less than three million) and co-operation between Irish and British intelligence services was so close that Britain essentially had the benefits of a full military alliance with Ireland without having to actually expend troops to defend it.

      1. Damn. With your response, you just stole my 2014 excuse to head to seek the lubricants about Irish history that I never got to hear mentioned when I was last there in 2010, at O’Connor’s Pub in Killarney There is no place I would rather be during the impending doom of global warming than with all the boats of County Kerry. The Irish have their way of equally lifting all the boats. Thanks for your wisdom that I would usually attributed mostly to the Guinness.

  15. Thanks for a great read and a good giggle. Love the picture descriptions too, a really well put together article about a very true subject. It could have been so whiny… but it wasn’t! It was a wonderful fun read. I have a suspicion though, that all the whining could just be to put people off, so there is still some space left in those beautiful green hills. And great job on beating Switzerland!

  16. Dear Unshaved Mouse,
    I have had to leave the country. I tried making a go of it at home. After college I spent a year looking for work. Worked 3 jobs, one unpaid just for experience!!! .I worked than 90 hours a week twice and more than 80 regularly. I made less than 18k in total that year before tax. I could just about afford car tax and insurance food and rent. Worked with people who quit coz they could make more on the dole and not have to get out of bed and besides the work they were doing which they did badly was beneath them. Have 2 brothers and a sister. We are all out of the country and paying for our parent’s mortgage. And reading how the bankers got off. I returned home to the streets full of Sinn Fein electoral posters. I’ve been to some very bad places. I know Ireland is ok and good etc. But the problem is it’s not anywhere near where it should be.

  17. “there’s some Russia in this picture, just ignore that part”

    Well, I’m Spanish, and I would ignore Spain in that map as well. This isn’t the place to explain it in detail, but just to mention that International Amnesty published a report last April, where it’s said:

    “The Spanish government is using the full force of the law to suffocate legitimate peaceful protest,(…) The police have repeatedly used batons and rubber bullets against demonstrators, injuring and maiming protestors and bystanders alike. The police act with complete impunity, while peaceful demonstrators and leaders of social movements are continually harassed, stigmatized, beaten, sometimes arrested to face criminal charges, imprisonment and fines. (…) Spanish authorities have restricted the enjoyment of human rights in Spain, in particular the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and freedom of expression, in a way which is inconsistent with international human rights standards and with Spain’s obligations under international law,”

    And Jezerca Tigani, deputy programme director for Europe and central Asia at Amnesty International., has compared Spain to Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, saying that AI is concerned because Spain is following the same autoritharian tendencies.

    So, Spain must be ignored in that map as well.

  18. I have lived in America with my American wife and I am amazed at how dumb a lot of Americans are. I have good friends as intelligent as I could wish but the American political system leaves me with an excuse to use the word……..flabbergasted.

  19. 🙂 an amusing post, thank you Mouse. It is true that Irish people tend to love to complain about what doesn’t warrant complaint. Like a year or so ago when the government decided to give excess cheese to pensioners and others in need. It was never intended to be ‘instead of’ the pension or allowance etc. It was ‘as well as’. OMG the country erupted!. The internet exploded! “how dare they give us cheese!” ” Say NO to the cheese!”. I’m over here in America getting nothing for nothing and I’m thinking….Lads! It’s cheese! Take it and make a lovely sandwich out of it. With all the extra nourishment in you ya can go and march on the Dail and picket about all your real problems. But for the love of God, take the cheddar and enjoy it…or send it to me.

  20. I’m an American, but I can still relate to what you’ve written here. I hope to visit Ireland one day. If I can find good, steady work there, hell… I might just stay. 😉

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