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English Capitalists Starved Millions of Irish to Death For Profit - George Bernard Shaw

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In 1845, there were 1,000,000 deaths. Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid declared his intention to send 10,000 sterling to Irish farmers but Queen Victoria requested that the Sultan send only 1,000 sterling, because she had sent only 2,000 sterling. The Sultan sent the 1,000 sterling but also secretly sent 3 ships full of food. The English courts tried to block the ships, but the food arrived at Drogheda harbour and was left there by Ottoman sailors.

From American Indians

In 1847, midway through the Great Irish Famine (1845-1849), a group of American Indian Choctaws collected hundreds of dollars in an amazing gesture, just 16 years after their own privation during the Trail of Tears, and sent it to help starving Irish men, women and children. This donation was recently publicly commemorated by President Mary Robinson.

Incredibly, heartless landlords, whose land was crowded with poorer tenants, began great mass evictions in 1847.  In 1849 police began to keep count, and they recorded a total of almost 250,000 persons as officially evicted between 1849 and 1854.

After that earlier period of starvation, middle of the 18th century, some quarter of a million people left Ireland to settle in the New World alone, over a period of some fifty years. But during the worst 19th century starvation, emigration reached somewhere around 250,000 a year.

Families en masse did not emigrate, younger members of it did to be able to send remittances home in part to allow another member of the family to emigrate.

Of the 100,000 Irish that sailed to Canada in 1847, an estimated one out of five died from disease and malnutrition. Mortality rates of  30% were common aboard the coffin ships, the name given to any boat that has been over-insured and is therefore worth more to its owners sunk than afloat.

In 1847 William Smith O'Brien, the leader of the Young Ireland party, became one of the founding members of the Irish Confederation to campaign for a Repeal of the Act of Union, and called for the export of grain to be stopped and the ports closed. The following year he organized the resistance of landless farmers in County Tipperary against the landowners and their agents.

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The following appears in Act IV of George Bernard Shaw's play Man and Superman:

    "The Famine? No, [with smouldering passion] the starvation. When a country is full of food, and exporting it, there can be no famine. My father was starved dead; and I was starved out to America in my mother's arms. English rule drove me and mine out of Ireland."

There is an Ireland Holocaust mural on Ballymurphy Road in Belfast, titled "An Gorta Mór, Britain's genocide by starvation, Ireland's holocaust 1845-1849."

Armed rebellions, such as the Easter Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence of 1919, led to the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty treaty that gave Ireland four fifth's of their country back. Disagreements over some provisions of the treaty disaffection for discrimination against Catholics in housing and employment led to a split in the nationalist movement and subsequently to the Irish Civil War. The Civil War ended in 1923 with the defeat of the anti-treaty forces.

The 1998 Belfast Agreement between the British and Irish governments provides that:

It is the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly [the two governments] confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.

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As a result of the Agreement, the Constitution of Ireland was amended so that people born in Northern Ireland are entitled to be Irish citizens on the same basis as people from any other part of the island of Ireland.

But the cultural division remains strong. Curbstones in some areas are painted red-white-blue in settler areas and green-white-orange (or gold) in native Irish neighborhoods.

[Apart from sundry other sources, a good amount of the above history was gleaned, some phrases verbatim, from the fine articles found under the subject heading 'Republic of Ireland' on Google]

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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of articles (more...)

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English Capitalists Starved Millions of Irish to Death For Profit - George Bernard Shaw


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As I read it I decided I wanted to read it again, ... by Margaret Bassett on Saturday, Mar 21, 2009 at 8:42:08 PM
A fine article, it is relevant to the modern day. ... by Jason Paz on Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 3:42:20 AM
The article is just about worthless because it mak... by Stephen Gash on Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 5:37:14 AM
For whatever failings or even crimes of the Irish,... by Jay Janson on Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 9:07:54 AM
In no way does Mr. Gash's anti-Irish sentiment den... by Bobby Morris on Thursday, Apr 2, 2009 at 3:29:25 AM
English or British? The Scottish were heavily invo... by John Bull on Sunday, Mar 22, 2009 at 9:19:44 AM