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Forum LockedEnglish genocide in Ireland?

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    Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 11:37
In last November, when I went to the Republic of Ireland's capital city, Dublin, I was in state of shock when seeing the disturbing Famine Memorial, a group of very tall sculptures representing starving Irish people during the Great Famine that lasted for several years starting in 1845.









This period of starvation caused 1 million to die, out of a pre-famine population of 8 million, not to mention more than 1 million of refugees left their homeland forever.




Photography of a starving Irish family during the Great Hunger





Some think it was a genocide committed by British authorities, which then occupied Ireland for centuries. By the way, throughout the famine Ireland continued to export crops and foodstuffs to Britain in massive amounts.

http://www.umbc.edu/history/CHE/InstPg/RitFamine/irish-famine-background.html

Also, according to Abdullah Aymaz, while hundreds of thousands were dying Queen Victoria and her government even stopped the Ottoman Empire from providing food and money to starving Irish. Ottoman Sultan had allegedly offered 10.000 Sterlings to Irish farmers but Queen Victoria allegedly asked him to reduce his aid to 1.000 Sterlings as she gave herself only 2.000 Sterlings.





Ottoman Sultan Abdülmecid I sent five ships full of food supplies and funds as charity. However, the British administration did not give permission for these ships to enter the ports of Belfast or Dublin. Taner Baytok, former Turkish ambassador to Ireland, recounts in his memoirs that these ships secretly discharged their load in Drogheda, a town approximately 70 miles north of Dublin.

In May 2, 1995, commemorating this charity, the mayor of Drogheda, Alderman Frank Goddfrey, paid honor to Baytok and erected a plaque in the Westcourt Hotel, which was then the City Hall where Turkish seamen stayed. Baytok says he first learned of this act of charity from an article by Thomas P. O’Neill published in The Threshold magazine in 1957.

The Otoman sultan declared that he would donate £10,000, but on the orders of Queen Victoria the British Ambassador in Istanbul informed the Sultan that he should reduce this amount, for the Queen’s donation was only £2,000. As noted in the letter of gratitude from the “noblemen, gentlemen, and inhabitants of Ireland,” the amount donated by Sultan Abdülmecid I was reduced by the Queen to one thousand pounds. Ottoman efforts to provide food and lessen the pains of the Irish people, despite political obstacles and the long distance, certainly deserves to be appreciated. It is a case study that should be analyzed carefully, not only as historical evidence for the friendship between two nations, but also as a perfect example that differences of race, religion, or language should not prevent humanitarian aid.

This generous charity from a Muslim sultan to a Christian nation is also important, particularly in our time when Muslims are often unfairly accused of human rights violations. Likewise, the appreciative plaque and overall reaction of the Irish society in return for this charity deserves to be applauded. We hope that the Turkish-Irish friendship sets a model for peace among different nations.


http://www.fountainmagazine.com/articles.php?SIN=7316305e60&k=854&1347841039&show=part1






Edited by goldenstar - 03-Apr-2009 at 11:41
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 12:10
It would reflect badly on the British monarch if the Ottoman Sultan contributed a larger sum, thus it's likely that more Irish than necessary died so the monarchy could save face. I wouldn't go as far as to say the English engineered a genocide though.

I can't help but wonder what the motivation of the Ottoman Sultan was. Did he seek to improve his standing in Europe? Did he try to foster dissent in the British homelands to weaken them abroad? Perhaps, if he was really cunning, he could intentionally have offered an excessive amount knowing the British authorities would have to ask him to lower it in order to save face? The article sadly lacks clarification of the Ottoman incentive. I tried googling around but all I can find are propagandist sites with an agenda of glorifying the Ottomans.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mortaza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 12:23
Hmm. I think there is not much turkish source about this. (If I am not wrong, Turkish knowledge about this comes from Ireland.) So, motivation of Sultan is unknown but Ottoman had not much power to effect Britain at 1845.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 13:50
A lot is made of the famine, its causes and the supposed genocide which the English apparantly attempted. I'd say its more a product of its time, and its long become a national myth here in Ireland.

Personally speaking I think most of the suffering could have stopped, the resources where in london's hands and there were many who pressed for some sort of action. The privite charities were formidable, though completely lacking the necessary infrastructure needed to save the Irish peasant. Remarkably some policies were persued at aiming at giving the Irish peasant cash in hand - which was a pointless endeavour in an economy that didn't use money, by and large.

The subsistence farming was the cause of the famine, not some hare brained British plot to kill off the Irish Catholic (Though you will see many articles about this online, on Irish Republican websites) Land reform slowly happened in the following years, starting with Gladstone. The Land War of the 1870s also caused a lot of disturbance in the countryside all over the west.

The blame lies with the British in allowing the Landlordism system to remain, despite so many British intellectuals arguing against it for years. It was terrible system, a form of economic slavery, which ultimely led to huge loss of life.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote goldenstar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 20:31
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

It would reflect badly on the British monarch if the Ottoman Sultan contributed a larger sum, thus it's likely that more Irish than necessary died so the monarchy could save face. I wouldn't go as far as to say the English engineered a genocide though.

I can't help but wonder what the motivation of the Ottoman Sultan was. Did he seek to improve his standing in Europe? Did he try to foster dissent in the British homelands to weaken them abroad? Perhaps, if he was really cunning, he could intentionally have offered an excessive amount knowing the British authorities would have to ask him to lower it in order to save face?


I was wondering too, even if it seems very surprising that at this time solidarity between Muslims and Christian Europeans already existed (a period of constant religious rivalry and wars in the Mediterranean and the Balkans), it was a special century after all and there were alliances between Muslims and many Christian states (France and Britain sided with the Ottomans against Russia in the Crimean War), politicians could do as they do today, making charity without total sincerity to serve their own agenda including the fact to build a positive image for themselves. Napoleon III of France also expressed admiration to Muslim Algerians and allegedly attempted to improve their life-conditions during the French occupation, while France and Algeria were total ennemies for centuries and had always been warring against each other.

Speaking of which, it is strange Ottoman Sultan did not rather help fellow Muslims who were suffering serious famines at the same time during the war against the French army, the Ottoman government did not even send any troops to support Algeria while it was its vassal state and collaborated with it since the 16th century, supporting it in its wars against the common Christian ennemies (the Algerian and Tunisian navies were entirely destroyed at the 1827 Battle of Navarino on the Greek coast during the Greek War of Independence).

So the purpose of helping Ireland was perhaps not only humanitarian.

Quote The article sadly lacks clarification of the Ottoman incentive. I tried googling around but all I can find are propagandist sites with an agenda of glorifying the Ottomans.


Mystery... Confused




Edited by goldenstar - 03-Apr-2009 at 21:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 20:41
It didn't prevent the Brits from orchestrating the downfall of the Ottomans anyway (in a quite deceiving manner, but never mind).
The Brits of old always preferred to let other people slaughter each other, rather than getting their hands dirty. When they did the slaughter themselves, they did so in an orderly and civilised manner, which made it okay at the time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote goldenstar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 20:49
Originally posted by Jams Jams wrote:

It didn't prevent the Brits from orchestrating the downfall of the Ottomans anyway (in a quite deceiving manner, but never mind).
The Brits of old always preferred to let other people slaughter each other, rather than getting their hands dirty. When they did the slaughter themselves, they did so in an orderly and civilised manner, which made it okay at the time.


Even if it is often implied, I think it is a mistake and an over-simplification to say that Allied Powers including Britain ended the Ottoman Empire, they first defeated it and largely reduced its territory at the end of WWI but it still existed and then its people fought and succeessively defeated the occupiers. In fact, following the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne it is Turkish Nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal who chose to end the rule of the Ottoman dynasty after their decisive military victory over the Allies they drove out of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace, instauring a republican regime in Anatolia.

They saw the Sultan as a traitor because he surrendered to the Allies with no conditions and accepted the humiliating 1920 Treaty of Sevres, which gave large parts of Turkish-speaking lands to Greece and newly created Armenia, and divided the rest of the land into Italian-French-British zones of influence, only a small part of Anatolia was to be directly ruled by Ottomans.




Edited by goldenstar - 03-Apr-2009 at 20:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jams Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 21:05
I believe that what they did was a large part of it. Maybe they didn't end it completely, but they weakened them. I don't know what would have happened if the war had continued?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 21:10
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Personally speaking I think most of the suffering could have stopped, the resources where in london's hands and there were many who pressed for some sort of action. The privite charities were formidable, though completely lacking the necessary infrastructure needed to save the Irish peasant. Remarkably some policies were persued at aiming at giving the Irish peasant cash in hand - which was a pointless endeavour in an economy that didn't use money, by and large.


Good post! I agree, some of what i have read in a book about myths, is that it does agree with you that it was not some orchestrated plot in London too starve or kill the Irish in mass. Rather the worse that can be said about the response from the British government was that the aid to the Irish while it was well intentioned, it was poorly planned and highly ineffectual.

Quote
The subsistence farming was the cause of the famine, not some hare brained British plot to kill off the Irish Catholic (Though you will see many articles about this online, on Irish Republican websites) Land reform slowly happened in the following years, starting with Gladstone. The Land War of the 1870s also caused a lot of disturbance in the countryside all over the west.

The blame lies with the British in allowing the Landlordism system to remain, despite so many British intellectuals arguing against it for years. It was terrible system, a form of economic slavery, which ultimely led to huge loss of life.


In the book, (and don't quote me on this yet), the claim that the Irish famine was due mainly in part because of the over-reliance of the Irish upon the potato as the main food crop had a lot to do with the suffering? I believe it also touched upon the land-lordism and the lack of reforms as the other reason. That does make sense and seems to jibe with your post.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote goldenstar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 21:15
Originally posted by Jams Jams wrote:

I believe that what they did was a large part of it. Maybe they didn't end it completely, but they weakened them.


They unintentionally contibuted to create a nationalist movement that ended monarchy, but they had to give up all their claims on Turkish lands and kept on ruling only the former Arabic-speaking territories of the Empire.

Quote I don't know what would have happened if the war had continued?


War continued quickly after the armistice of Mudros was signed, as nationalists never accepted the defeat, and Ottoman citizens finally defeated the Allies.

Italians, Britishers, French, Armenians,  and Greeks, were all forced to leave while they were supposed to stay and control most of the land. France and Britain maintained their troops in Syria-Lebanon, Palestine-Jordan, and Iraq.

So if Turks had wanted their Sultan to keep on ruling, Turkey would still be called the Ottoman Empire today as it was until the internal decision to abolish it in 1923.




Edited by goldenstar - 03-Apr-2009 at 21:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Apr-2009 at 21:29
Quote
In the book, (and don't quote me on this yet), the claim that the Irish famine was due mainly in part because of the over-reliance of the Irish upon the potato as the main food crop had a lot to do with the suffering? I believe it also touched upon the land-lordism and the lack of reforms as the other reason. That does make sense and seems to jibe with your post.


Hi Panther,

Yes, the reliance on the potato crop did explain some of the problems. However, this was the most efficient crop a farmer could grow on his two or three acre plot - usually bad land in the west suffering from excess tillage.

The fact that we lacked a yeoman farmer class like they had in Britain was the problem. Absentee Landlordism, always the curse of the Irish, caused the mess. The Landlord by and large resided in England, usually London or Bath. His revenues from his Irish estate was poor. There were of course many Landlords residing in Ireland, and not all were bad intentioned. The real scourge of the land was his agent - by and large the local Protestant bigwig who collected the rents from the petrified and impoverished peasantry. He took his cut, and where he didn't get what was due more often that not the peasants cottage would be burnt down. It really was a vicious cycle of economic slavery - it was impossible for the peasant to expand or improve his crop yield or his farm, since he had a large family with only a few acres of potatoes to sustain him for the whole year. When you have 10-15 children the emphasis is always on maximising your crop yield, hence why the potatoe was such a useful and important crop.

Where it possible for the countryside to sustain 20-30 acre farms then crop rotation could have been implemented but under the Landlord system this was impossible.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 21:29
I am researching the life of Passmore Edwards, a Victorian Philanthropist and MP for Salisbury from 1880 to 1885. Edwards voted against the Home Rule Bill because he did not want to see a break up of the United Kingdom or of the British Empire. He argued that in Europe France, Germany and Italy had once been a number of small countries but were now each combined in one country. He did campaign for reform in the British Government's handling of Ireland and sought equality with English Counties. If the UK Government had treated Ireland's population in exactly the same way as England's population would there have been such a demand for liberation?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 22:06

I think your question needs a little rephrasing. The United Kingdom only existed from 1800, and the problem (I suppose it's reasonable to call it that) was well developed before that. Until that time Ireland had its own parliament, just as Scotland had up until 1707. So the question ought to be phrased according to the period you are concerned with.

In addition the more interesting way to put it would be 'if the English had treated the Irish the same way as they did the Scots and the Welsh and the Irish in the north....? And in one sense they did. Where the different treatment arose is that Roman Catholics were treated differently from Anglicans, Protestants, and indeed deists and agnostics.

And of course the Irish were and are far more Roman Catholic than anything else. At least in the south.

That's really the root of the problem: religious discrimination, not ethnic or racial.


Edited by gcle2003 - 02-May-2009 at 22:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 22:10
Yes and No. There was a little bitterness hanging over from the Famine, arguably still so. But by and large British government in Ireland since the famine had been surprisingly benevolent. For example, we gained more in public spending than we paid in taxes for decades. The introduction of the old age pension in Ireland effectively ended old age poverty here (There's more to that by the way, thousands of people who wouldn't have been entitled to the pension claimed it, due to problems with the census) and despite the land agitation of the 1870s, Gladstone set off Irish land reform and disestablished the church of Ireland in 1869/1870.

Everything was running along rather smoothly until the Ulster crisis kicked in. Up until 1912 a constitutional conclusion was been sought for an accomodation with Ulster under Home Rule. When Ulster decided to arm themselves and forcibly prevent Home Rule being foisted on them, they sparked the creation of the Irish volunteers, which in turn led to the Easter Rising, the IRA, the Tan War, the irish Free State and the Irish Republic. So in many ways, the violent seperation of Britain and southern Ireland was entirely down to small minded Belfast bigots. Or at least thats what I like to think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 22:12
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

That's really the root of the problem: religious discrimination, not ethnic or racial.


I really don't know about that... King Dan may have brought Catholic emancipation, but I do think the problems were deeper than merely religious differences. So many of our national figures are or have been Protestants.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-May-2009 at 23:49
I have to admit that my knowledge of Irish history is even less than that of English history. but from what I have read whilst studying Passmore Edwards is that the British Government appeared to be treating the Irish in the mid 1800s the same as the English had treated the Scots a couple of hundred years before. There was a renewed fear of catholic revival in Victorian England but was that sufficient to justify the ill-treatment of the Irish en-mass. Did the British Government see the Irish as anything more than part of the British Empire, like the Indians? In fact did they treat the Irish any better than they treated the Indians, the Africans or any other colonial race? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-May-2009 at 10:48
Well, if your talking about the Highland evictions in Scotland then there may well be parallels. The famine and the years after it saw millions of Irish people emigrate to the States, Canada and Australia. I don't think we were treated as the Indians or Africans were, we were after all a member of the Union. There was certain elements of Britain that saw us as inferior, but that is often overstated.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-May-2009 at 13:04
Parnell, you may be right about the small-minded Belfast bigots, but surely they were religious bigots?
 
A couple of other points. I had in mind religious discrimination in earlier history, not the late 19th century.
 
It might be worth mentioning the institution of Resident Magistrate (an outside magistrate brought in to settle legal disputes. This was relatively common in the colonies, but I don't think it ever applied in the home islands apart from Ireland.
 
The Highland Clearances weren't an example of English oppression of the Scots, but largely of Scottish landowners getting rid of their own tenants. Religion was again not irrelevant here since the Highlanders were by and large Roman Catholic, and the landowners Church of Scotland.
 
From an ethnic point of view, the Highland Clearances and the Irish situation can be looked on as Anglo-Saxons (English or Scottish) dominating Gaels.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dean Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-May-2009 at 23:33
Thanks for all that. Just one last question. The following is from Tim Healey's account of the Pheonix Park Murders.

In November, 1882, Parliament met to pass the Closure. It was made permanent, though Liberals as well as Tories disliked it.

Passmore Edwards, proprietor of the London Echo, M.P. for Salisbury, joined me in a talk with Sam Storey, M.P. for Sunderland, the day before the division. "I hate the closure," said Edwards, "and won't vote for it." "Then vote against it," said Storey, "as I shall do." "Ah!" Edwards sighed. "You represent a popular constituency, Sunderland, but I sit for a small borough at the mercy of a handful of voters." "Still," returned Storey, "have courage and vote with me."

Next night, so strong was party pressure, that both gentlemen voted with the Government.

Can you tell me what the "Closure" was?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-May-2009 at 09:58
I'm not sure, but from the title I'd imagine its something to do with the closure of the Phoenix Park after the Fenians murdered senior British civil servants there one night. I'm not sure to be honest. Maybe Parliament did debate closing the park after the murders.

The Phoenix Park murders are very important in Irish history. Specifically consider how widespreadly they were rejected - a little like the killings in NI earlier in the year - No-one wanted a physical struggle against England. Parnell was still scourged by it though, a journalist forged documents perportedly by him where he sympathises with the murderers. Got in a lot of bother over that.
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