I am interested if anyone with experience in Irish culture could answer a rather odd question for me. I am a big sci-fi fan, and I am wondering whether anyone could tell me which Star Wars faction is most like the Irish: the Galactic Empire, the Rebellion, or independent Mandalorians, all of which can have a case made for them.
I'll make the case for the Rebellion first. Most of all, their appearance matches the Irish. They have the same freedom-loving attitude and supportive nature I have heard the Irish are well-known for. Furthermore, they actively champion the cause of freedom and democracy for everyone and challenge injustices.
However, the Galactic Empire is also similar to the Irish by facts. First of all, their primary concern is the safety and sovereignty of their people; the Empire came about by legal means and was widely embraced by the people. Palpatine set the events in motion for the conversion from Republic to Empire and for the eventual destruction of corrupt elements after the Republic had been in the same state of decay almost for one thousand years, just as the Irish spent 700 years trying to fix the problems and abuses forced on them by the British. Secondly, their military forces are designed for peace-keeping operations. When watching the movies, one might see a massive war machine, but one must also remember that the Empire was safeguarding over 50 million different planets with just as many armed and dangerous groups intent on doing whatever they please; as such, their military is parallel to the modern Irish one. Finally, Sith is the Irish Gaelic word for faery or sprite; as such, one might consider a parallel between them and the Celts of ages past, whom they resemble. (Here one must consider that only two eras of the Sith, those led by Revan and by Palpatine, actually follow the Sith principles; other groups calling themselves Sith often stray from their ideals and end up involved in evil activity.)
However, a third group parallels the Irish: the Mandalorians. Mando'ade (the native name for Mandalorians) are a group of people united by shared ideals and an honor code. They are a family-centered, nomadic people. They often do not take sides in wars, although they allied themselves with both Revan (after their first war against him and the ailing Republic 4,000 years before the first Star Wars movie and the Battle of Yavin) and Palpatine during his conversion of Republic to Empire while maintaining a conspicuous aversion, even hatred, towards the Jedi. They often sell themselves out as mercenaries, but will immediately rally to any threat to their home planet of Mandalore and their family, as this is their first priority.
The following sources give additional information. However, a word of caution: do not associate the light side with good and the dark side with evil. Both have been used for the right and the wrong reasons; light is non-attachment and logic-based reasoning, while dark is drawing strength from all of one's emotions, especially anger, which psychology rates as one of the strongest. It is also important to note that the Empire only used forced labor (often labeled slavery in Rebel literature) on species or groups who took active steps to undermine the stability of the galaxy; for example, the Wookies tried to bomb out Imperial installations and ships who had just rescued them from being delivered into the hands of those who would literally skin them alive for the conversion from Empire to Rebellion. Many smaller species are listed as being "enslaved," but they are from unreliable fan-fiction sources who often contradict canon. So, look at the source and see how close it parallels an event in the movies. Furthermore, the Empire cannot be compared to the Nazis or another racist or ethnically oppressive regime, since it did not start genocides or make ethnic killings of any kind legal.
I would very much appreciate any ideas anyone has on this subject. Please feel free to present your own unique arguments. If you are not a sci-fi person, just use any faction as a metaphor for a reasonable parallel in the real world. Thanks!