National Famine Memorial Day

May 17th is the Memorial Day for an Gorta Mór, the Hunger, the Irish Potato Famine. It’s more pleasant to think of cherry cobblers (it’s Cherry Cobbler Day as well, and Pack Rat Day, & Anti-homophobia Day) dublin-day-1-033when looking at today’s holidays, but spare a moment for the Irish Famine (an Gorta Mór). It was as engineered as Stalin starving the Ukraine. We all talk about the Holocaust (Shoah) when 6 million were killed in the death camps because of anti-Semitism, and occasionally people talk about Stalin starving the Ukraine because (guess what? Russians don’t like Ukrainians), 7 million dead. If we talk about it, we call it the “Potato Famine”, and are taught that the Irish starved because the potatoes on which they were dependent were killed by a blight. (“They shouldn’t have been so dependent on one crop.) They were growing wheat. While “only” a million people died in the Irish Famine the English landlords were exporting huge amounts of wheat.They knew that they were starving the Irish, and if they didn’t it was willful ignorance. Given the amount of harm done to workers and environment all over the world today due to the protective laws that consider profits more important than people or future generations, we need to consider which side of history we want to be on.

Is the silence about the real reason for “The Hunger” because the English are our “friends”, as Germans and Russians are not? Was it Anti-Catholic/anti-Irish or simply the ruling classes creating laws that favored the wealthy capitalists over those producing the product. This is worthy of thought, not just today, but particularly today.

Now you can go back to your regularly scheduled holiday celebrations. 17-Cherry-Cobbler


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