The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

For The Victims of Britain's Holocaust in Ireland

Brian Halpin

I would welcome a decision to have a national and International remembrance day for the millions who suffered and died during the period between 1845-1850 in Irish history.

Over one million people died and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee the island after the potato harvest failed.

I was reading a piece in The Irish Examiner recently; to my knowledge the Dublin City Council have boosted a campaign to designate an annual memorial day to remember famine victims when councilors passed a Labour Party motion on the issue this week.

"The famine was a seminal event in Ireland's past and dramatically changed the course of our history forever." Committee chairperson Michael Branch said.

A Famine? Have I misunderstood a page in our history? Well let's clear things up, let's define the word famine, "A famine is a severe shortage of food, resulting in violent hunger, starvation and death. This is a basic definition.

When was there ever a severe shortage of food in Ireland? I recall the stories of violent hunger, starvation and death in Ireland. It didn't happen by Famine. It was genocide.

The treatment of the Irish was very similar to the way Hitler treated the Jews. Hitler believed the German's were the "superior" race and the Jews were the "inferior" race. The English likewise, thought they were "superior" to the Irish.

In his 12th century "History and Topography of Ireland", Gerald wrote of the Irish people portraying them as inferior: "They live on beasts only, and live like beasts. They have not progressed at all from the habits of pastoral living."

A good example of the treatment of the Irish is shown in Cecil Woodham-Smith's book "The Great Hunger."

"How do you govern it?" demanded Macaulay in the House of Commons on February 1844. "Not by love but by fear … not by confidence of the people in the laws and their attachments to the constitution but by means of armed men and entrenched camps."

These attitudes were to create a disaster. Not a natural disaster. A planned disaster.

In the meantime, potato blight arrived in Ireland. This fungus produced black spots and a white mould rotting the potato into a pulp. How would the British react to this? Would they stop all export of food from Ireland? Would they open the ports to free trade? Would the duties be lifted on flour and oatmeal?

No. Instead massive amounts of food were exported to England. There was no need to prohibit export of food as reports from Ireland were "exaggerated".

The monthly average of food exported was worth 100,000 pounds sterling. Dr. Kinealy also pointed out that "over 3 million livestock were exported from Ireland between 1846-1850. Peas, beans, onions, rabbits, salmon, oysters, herring, lard, honey, tongues, animal skins, rags, shoes, soap, glue and seeds were all exported. This food could have been used to feed the people who were starving to death.

During this period, there were 12,000 British horses in Ireland which didn't starve to death. Due to the failure of the potato crop, Irish people could no longer afford the rent. They were evicted by absent landlords. Grazing animals replaced them. This alone rules out the suggestion of famine.

Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson said "it was Ireland's greatest natural disaster". There was nothing natural about it, Mary. No Jewish person should refer to the holocaust as an "Oxygen Famine" or a natural disaster similarly; no Irish person should ever refer to a famine in their country.

Back to the idea of a national commemoration, there must be one. However, why commemorate something that never happened? We must get history right. We must remember and have a national and international day of remembrance for the victims of genocide, for the victims of Britain's holocaust in Ireland.





















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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



There is no such thing as a dirty word. Nor is there a word so powerful, that it's going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
- Frank Zappa

Index: Current Articles

18 September 2006

Other Articles From This Issue:

Kick the Pope
Anthony McIntyre

When Saying Sorry Isn't Enough
David Adams

"The third camp is about real lives": Interview with Hamid Taqvaee
Maryam Namazie

John Kennedy

Sympathy for the Victims
Mick Hall

For The Victims of Britain's Holocaust in Ireland
Brian Halpin

Dreary Eden
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Legalize the Irish
Frank [Name Supplied]

Careful What You Wish For
Dr John Coulter

The Peace Process — A Children's Fantasy
Tom Luby

John Kennedy

Upcoming Events

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It's Good to Talk
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Bye-Bye Daily Lies
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Peelers Give You Trouble
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If You Cannot Organise a Meeting, How Can You Expect to Organise a Revolution?
Liam O Comain

RSF not involved in proposed 'Front'
Republican Sinn Fein Press Release

Renaissance Republicanism
Mick Hall

Goulding, the Provisionals and the Current Political Process
Roy Johnston

Puppet Show
John Kennedy

Fr. Mc Manus on His Visit to Garnerville PSNI Training Center
Fr Sean Mc Manus

Irlande du Nord: Interview With Anthony McIntyre
André Poulin

Sectarian Interfaces: Glenn Patterson's That Which Was
Seaghán Ó Murchú

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 9
Michael Gillespie

Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 10
Michael Gillespie

A Curious Snub
Fred A. Wilcox

Con Artist
John Kennedy

Against Civilisation
Seamus Mac An tSaoir

Blanket Coverage for All
Carrie Twomey

5 Years
Brian Mór



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