Friday, February 19, 2016

The Irish Slave Myth

In 1968, presumably in a spirit of revolutionary fervour, I bought a hardback book entitled Celtic Nationalism.  It hardly lived up to the times, consisting of two pedestrian contributions from Gwynfor Evans and Hugh Macdiarmid while more than half the book was taken up with an academic essay on, mainly, 19C Irish nationalism by Owen Dudley Edwards.  One thing I did gather from the book was that there had been an element of pro-slavery, anti-black racism within Irish nationalism, especially in the writings of John Mitchel and Arthur Griffith

Fast forward  half a century and we find a Limerick historian, Liam Hogan, valiantly attempting to stem the myth of Irish slavery - a popular and growing meme, especially in the United States.  This meme, either through ignorance, me-too-victimhood or out and out dishonesty and anti-black racism, equates chattel slavery with indentured servitude.  You can read Hogan's ongoing debunking of the myth - in 5 parts, starting here or here.

The Growth in Social Media Mentions of the Irish Slave Myth - from Hogan

Not the least disservice performed by this pervasive myth is to cast a shadow over the very real historical sufferings of the Irish people while providing ammunition for her enemies.  Only last week there was a small example of a Scottish writer's reasonable comment on the Highland Clearances being equated by anti-SNP voices as if it were a Scottish appropriation of the slave myth.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Goodbye Wales

Can oblivious Wales please never again mention its historic links to Hughesovka, a city - nowadays called Donetsk - frequently shelled by what purports to be its own government and whose president boasts that its children must cower in cellars instead of going to school.