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CELTIC-L  July 1995

CELTIC-L July 1995

Subject:

'Re: Famine'

From:

David O'Keefe <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.

Date:

Wed, 5 Jul 1995 11:14:39 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

Hello Conrad,
     I read your July 5th reply. Once again you seem to have missed the point
many others grasp. Responsibility. Your arguments are all diversions from
this concept:
Diversion #1 OVERPOPULATION. The Netherlands has one of the highest
population densities in the world, which Ireland in the 1840's was not close
to reaching. Potato blight in Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe did not
affect people as severely as Ireland, because they had diversified crops. If
Ireland was exporting large amounts of grains at the time, and if Ireland
added nearly a million head of cattle to its livestock, then Ireland was not
overpopulated. In addition, that time's Irish population density as compared
to Britain's was quite reasonable. Therefore, the British people who owned
86% of the land and governed Ireland WERE responsible for the disaster.
Diversion #2 ENGLISH OWED THE IRISH AN  ECONOMIC PARADISE. Had the Irish
people owned 86% of the land, as was Irish people's right, there would have
been many more jobs and no starvation. It is true that there would have been
a lower standard of living. Notice, however, it would have been a standard of
living and not a much, much higher mortality rate. Responsibility for
economic hell during Irish famine era WAS British.
Diversion #3 IRISH ANTAGONISM. With 86% of the land in British hands, the
Irish would be antagonistic. What else could they be? After a century of
Penal Laws, anyone would be antagonistic. Again, a British responsibility,
not an Irish one.
Diversion #4 RESOURCE DRAIN. Again, if the British were exporting large
amounts of grains and building up cattle herds, then resources were being
drained away from the starving Irish people, not too them. Responsibility for
such a drain away  from Irish people WAS British landowners and people in
charge of the government and economy.
Diversion #5 FLAWED RELIEF PHILOSOPHY. The British government was in charge
of the welfare of the Irish people. They chose to ship grain out and raise
cattle instead of feeding the Irish people. The British government really did
not have a famine relief policy. Since they were the governors, they WERE
responsible.
Diversion #6 GOOD LANDLORDS AND QUAKERS. Mentioning the Quakers' true
Christian charity only contrasts the truly unchristian policy of the British
government. Good landlords? Shipping out grain to England and increasing
their cattle herds? Again, you evade responsibility.
Diversion #7 IRISH-AMERICAN IINDIFFERENCE TO  ETHIOPIA & SOMALIA FAMINES.
Many Irish-Americans are Roman Catholics. Perhaps about 20,000,000. American
Roman Catholic relief organizations shipped much aid to these affected
populations, as hostilities there permitted. Many (also about 20,000,000
persons) Irish-American Protestants' church relief groups did as well. In
addition, irish-Americans, whether Catholic or Protestant, are American
taxpayers. The American government shipped much relief and assistance to
Africans in distress. Please note! The Irish people and government is noted
for its humanitarian assistance to Africa. Irish-American responsibilities
were met.
Diversion #8 CORRUPT IRISH-AMERICAN POLITICAL MACHINES. You forget that
Irish-American political machines built up American cities such as  Boston,
New York, Albany, Chicago,  St. Louis, Kansas City, New Orleans, and San
Francisco to name a few. The political machines tried to organize
distribution of aid. New immigrants overloaded the system repeatedly.
Irish-Americans also built their parochial hospitals and orphanges to help.
The cities worked. Good public health and educational systems emerged.
America was a new country, however.There was bound to be chaos. Ireland was
an old country. Responsibility in Ireland's case  rests with the British.
Diversion #9 IRISH-AMERICAN DISCRIMINATION. It is true there was a great deal
of ethnic immigrant competition in American cities in the Northeast and
Midwest, for example. Most of the real discrimination was in the hands of the
Anglo-Americans who had the economic power. Irish-American  labor union
participation helped a great deal. Read Tip O'Neill's biography about his
being outside the priveleged realm. Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill and the
Kennedy's had a good Civil Rights record, too.
Diversion #10 IRISH-AMERICAN REMITTANCES TO IRELAND. Along with
German-Americans in the early 19th century and also with Polish-Americans and
Italian-Americans in the later 19th century, Irish-Americans helped build a
 parochial educational and health system which greatly helped the American
nation. Many people were helped. This also happened in Canada and Australia.
Again, Irish-Americans, Irish-Canadians, and Irish-Australians met their
social responsibilities better that the British did in Ireland.
Diversion #11 NO GROUP ENTIRELY BLAMELESS. Again. 86% British responsibility
versus 14% "Native Irish" responsibility. The figures are out in the open.
Non-debatable, which is why you avoid referring to them.
     We all know Conrad where your feelings lie and where your heart really
is. Since the unicorn is a royal British symbol, is your remark about jumping
over a unicorn a veiled threat with respect to persons disagreeing with
proBritish point of view? Please remember that the Irish people did in fact
jump over the British unicorn in 1919 and they are now a free people. I think
many Irish people can forgive the British for the failure of those times, but
not forget how it came about. But for the Irish people to accept the blame
for what they were not responsible for would be obscene. The Irish people of
the 1840's didn't let their own Irish people die. That's not true!
     No one can really be an Irish person and excuse the death of a million
Irish, particularly the women and the children. They can be Anglo-American
ex-Irish. They can be Northern Irish non-Irish. But they can't be real Irish,
Irish-American. It doesn't matter what "Irish" organizations they belong to.
Better they really be British or something else. Slan Agat.
David F. O'Keefe                            Tel. [713] 531-8705
13103 Ashford Pt. Drive, Apt. 2210
Houston, Texas 77082-5249

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