TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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"At the Boer war time I had been away from Ireland for years - out of touch with everything native to my heart and mind - trying hard to do my duty and every fresh act of duty made me appreciably nearer the ideal of the Englishman. I had accepted Imperialism - British rule was to be extended at all costs, because it was the best for everyone under the sun, and those who opposed that extension ought right to be 'smashed'. I was on the high road of being a regular Imperialist jingo - altho' at heart, underneath all and unsuspected almost by myself I had remained an Irishman. Well, the war gave me qualms at the end - the concentration camps bigger ones - and finally when in those lonely Congo forest where I found Leopold - I also found myself - the incorrigible Irishman. I was remonstrated there by British highly respectable and religious missionaries. 'Why make such a bother', they said - 'the state represents law and order - and after all these people are savages and must be repressed with a firm hand'. Every fresh discovery I made of the hellishness of the Leopold system threw me back on myself alone for guidance. I knew that the FO [Foreign Office] wouldn't understand the thing - or that if they did they would take no action, for, I realised then that I as looking at this tragedy with the eyes of another race - of a people once hunted themselves, whose hearts were based on affection as the root principle of contact with their fellow men and whose estimate of life was not of something eternally to be appraised at its 'market' price."