Ireland's Slavery Memorial Day?

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
An extract from an article by James Mullin which gives further information on the slave trade from Ireland:

Africa, out of Ireland

For centuries, England dominated both the African slave trade and Ireland. The parallels are too numerous and haunting to ignore.

by James Mullin

W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP and preeminent historian on slavery in the Americans, wrote: "Any attempt to consider the attitude of the English colonies toward the African slave trade must be prefaced by a word as to the attitude of England herself and the development of the trade in her hands."

Du Bois gives America's "Dialogue on Race" a logical starting place. Racism is the legacy of slavery, and slavery in the Americas began with the "Mother Country's" dominant role in the Atlantic slave trade. Before all white Europeans are lumped together with the British as colonists and slave keepers, let us consider Britain's tyranny in Ireland and the many parallels of subjugation and enslavement to be drawn.

Britain first entered the slave trade with the capture of 300 Negroes in 1562, and pursued it with religious zeal for three centuries. She introduced the first African slaves to Virginia on board a Dutch ship in 1619. In 1651, she fought two wars to wrest the slave trade from the Dutch. In her book, Black Chronology from 4,000 B.C. to Abolition of the Slave Trade, Ellen Irene Diggs wrote: "The final terms of peace surrendered New Netherlands to England and opened the way for England to become the world's greatest slave trader."

In 1662 the Company of Royal Adventurers was chartered by Charles II. The Royal Family, including Queen Dowager and the Duke of York, contracted to supply the West Indies with 3,000 slaves annually. This company was later sold for 34,000 pounds and replaced by the Royal African Company, also chartered by King Charles II.

Diggs says that in 1655, "Oliver Cromwell, in his zeal for God and the slave trade," sent an expedition to seize Jamaica from Spain. It soon became Britain's West Indian base for the slave trade.

In 1649 Oliver Cromwell and his 20,000-man army invaded Ireland. They killed the entire garrison of Drogheda and slaughtered all the townspeople. Afterwards, Cromwell said, "I do not think 30 of their whole number escaped with their lives. Those that did are in safe custody in the Barbados."

Under Cromwell's policy, known as "To Hell or Connaught," Irish landowners were driven off millions of acres of fertile land. Those found east of the river Shannon after May 1, 1654, faced the death penalty or slavery in the West Indies. Cromwell rewarded his soldiers and loyal Scottish Presbyterians by "planting" them on large estates. The British set up similar "plantations" in Barbados, St. Kitts and Trinidad.

The demand for labor on these distant plantations prompted mass kidnappings in Ireland. A pamphlet published in 1660 accused the British of sending soldiers to grab any Irish people they could in order to sell them to Barbados for profit: "It was the usual practice with Colonel Strubber, Governor of Galway, and other commanders in the said country, to take people out of their beds at night and sell them for slaves to the Indies, and by computations sold out of the said country about a thousand souls."

In Black Folk Then and Now, Du Bois concurs: "Even young Irish peasants were hunted down as men hunt down game, and were forcibly put aboard ship, and sold to plantations in Barbados."

According to Peter Berresford Ellis in To Hell or Connaught, soldiers commanded by Henry Cromwell, Oliver's son, seized a thousand "Irish wenches" to sell to Barbados. Henry justified the action by saying, "Although we must use force in taking them up , it is so much for their own good and likely to be of so great an advantage to the public." He also suggested that 2,000 Irish boys of 12 to 14 years of age could be seized for the same purpose: "Who knows but it might be a means to make them Englishmen."

In 1667 Parliament passed the Act to Regulate Negroes on British Plantations. Punishments included a severe whipping for striking a Christian. For the second offense: branding on the face with a hot iron. There was no punishment for "inadvertently" whipping a slave to death.

Between 1680 and 1688, the English African Company sent 249 ships to Africa and shipped approximately 60,000 black slaves. They "lost" 14,000 during the middle passage, and only delivered 46,000 to the New World.

As Diggs points out, "Planters sometimes married white women servants to Blacks in order to transform these servants and their children into slaves." This was the case with "Irish Nell," a servant woman brought to Maryland and sold to a planter when her former owner returned to England. Whether her children by a black slave husband were to be slave or free occupied the courts of Maryland for a number of years. Petition was finally granted, and the children freed.

The "custom" of marrying white servants to black slaves in order to produce slave offspring was legislated against in 1681. How many half-Irish children became slaves through this custom? How many black Americans have Irish ancestors because of it? If a servant is forced to mate with a slave in order to produce slave children for her slave master, is she not a slave?

In 1698 Parliament acted under pressure and allowed private English merchants to participate in the slave trade. The statute declared the slave trade "highly Beneficial and Advantageous to this Kingdom, and to the Plantations and Colonies thereunto belonging," according to Du Bois.

English merchants immediately sought to exclude all other nations by securing a monopoly on the lucrative Spanish colonial slave trade. This was accomplished by the Assiento treaty of 1713. Spain granted England a monopoly on the Spanish slave trade for 30 years. England engaged to supply the colonies with "at least 144,000 slaves at the rate of 4,800 a year," and they greatly exceeded their quota, according to Du Bois. The kings of Spain and England were to receive one-fourth of the profits, and the Royal African Company was authorized to import as many slaves as they wished.

In Slavery: A World History, Milton Meltzer says, "Slave trading was no vulgar or wicked occupation that shut a man out from office or honors. Engaged in the British slave trade were dukes, earls, lords, countesses, knights -- and kings. The slaves of the Royal African Company were branded with initials D.Y. for the Duke of York."

In the late 18th century historian Arthur Young traveled widely in Ireland. He wrote, "A landlord in Ireland can scarcely invent an order which a laborer, servant, or cottier dares to refuse. He may punish with his cane or horsewhip with most perfect security. A poor man would have his bones broken if he offered to lift a hand in his own defense."

When the Irish rebelled in 1798, Britain shipped thousands of chained "traitors" to her penal colonies in Australia. Many Irish prisoners were convinced that the masters of these convict ships were under orders to starve and murder them by neglect on the outward voyage. In The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes writes, "They had reason to think so," and points to the 1802 arrival of the Hercules, with a 37-percent death rate among the political exiles. That same year, the Atlas II sailed from Cork, with 65 out of 181 "convicts" found dead on arrival. Irish sailors who mutinied to help their countrymen were flogged unmercifully, and "ironed" together with handcuffs, thumbscrews and slave leg bolts.

In Slavery and the Slave Trade, James Walvin writes: "In 1781 the British slave ship Zong, unexpectedly delayed at sea and in danger of running short of supplies, simply dumped 132 slaves overboard in order to save the healthier slaves and on the understanding that such an action would be covered by the ship's insurance (not the case had the wretched slaves merely died)."

The Church of England supported the slave trade as a means of converting "heathens," and the Bishop of Exeter held 655 slaves until he was compensated for them in 1833. Trader John Newton had prayers said twice a day on board his slave ship, saying he never knew "sweeter or more frequent hours of divine communion." Francis Drake's slave ship was called Grace of God.

In The African Slave Trade, Basil Davidson says, "The value of British income derived from the [slave] trade with the West Indies was said to be four times greater than the value of British incomes derived from trade with the rest of the world." Diggs says that the greater profits from the trade "helped make possible the British Industrial Revolution." The tables from the Royal African Company indicate that between 1690 and 1807, they took 2,579,400 slaves out of Africa.

Full text:

http://www.oconnellstreet.com/mullin01.htm
 


Bobb

Active member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
114
Let's have an official day free from twinning towns, nuclear free zones, ethical foreign policy, fair trade, world thingy day, apologising on behalf of past regimes, pardons for dead people and other pious claptraps too numerous to mention.
 

Seos

Active member
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Messages
153
Bobb said:
Let's have an official day free from twinning towns, nuclear free zones, ethical foreign policy, fair trade, world thingy day, apologising on behalf of past regimes, pardons for dead people and other pious claptraps too numerous to mention.
So we should make zones nuclear, invade other countries for no reason, exploit third world countries and do other things just for one day? :wink:
 

Munion

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
317
I think Ireland should apologise to the people of western Scotland for the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people there by the Dal Riada clan. A shameful period in Irish history.
 

Seos

Active member
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Messages
153
Munion said:
I think Ireland should apologise to the people of western Scotland for the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous people there by the Dal Riada clan. A shameful period in Irish history.
Indeed we should, but what has this got to do with the topic of this thread?
 

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
Isnt it funny how some Irish people are so desperate to appear in the guise of the victimiser - and so desperate never to be seen in the role of the victim. If slavery is mentioned, they hunt about desperately trying to find some Irish who were slavers. If invasion is mentioned, they run back to the days of Celtic invasions, to prove to themselves that we did as much harm as anybody else (particulary the English). If genocide is mentioned, well, either it didnt happen at all, or we must have exterminated somebody.

Of course, Freud wrote a lot on this. The greatest horror of the psyche is to be associated with the position of the passive victim of the pleasure of another. The obsessive spends his whole life devising strategies to deny this.

Deny it all you want, but at many times in our history, we were the passive victims of the pleasure of another.
 
G

Guest

But how healthy do you think it is to wallow in victimhood like you do? I despise victimhood, whether Irish, Islamic, or whatever.
 

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
asteroid said:
But how healthy do you think it is to wallow in victimhood like you do? I despise victimhood, whether Irish, Islamic, or whatever.
You have a very typical obsessional neurotic mental structure. That's not ment as an insult, the utter avertion you show to accepting the victimhood that your are heir to is common to all obsessionals. Your constant attempts to silence the facts and attempts to identify with the victimisers' position would be considered standard obsessional ploys.
 

Worldbystorm

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
321
Cael, do you think it's appropriate for you to be diagnosing people as suffering from Freudian linked notions of neurosis?

Do you think it's also appropriate to take the concept of neurosis, which applied purely to individuals directly affected by specific events which it is posited were responsible for the development of said neuroses, and apply that to a whole 'people', i.e. the Irish?

Do you think it's possible to argue that individuals are neurotically obsessing about avoiding 'victimhood' when they did not experience themselves the traumas of Famine or slavery, indeed have no direct experience at all of such traumas and are seperated by a space of 150 years from such traumas?

How would you square that notion of suffering from a neurotic desire to avoid 'victimhood' because their ancestors suffered the pleasure of others from their pain, with a contemporary Ireland which if it's lacking in anything doesn't appear to be lacking in confidence and self-belief?

Finally, do you think that your project of rifling through history for every event which saw horrors inflicted upon some or many Irish and calling for commemorations is something of a paradox given that you accuse others of being passivity and avoiding victimhood? Who is being obsessive in this instance?
 

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
Worldbystorm said:
Cael, do you think it's appropriate for you to be diagnosing people as suffering from Freudian linked notions of neurosis?
From a Freudian point of view there are three mental structures: Neurotic, Perverse and Psychotic. What we call "normal" is a neurotic structure. The neurotic structure is broken into two groups: Hysteria and Obsessive. If you are "normal" you are a mixture of both with either Hysteria or Obsessive being the dominating trend. The defining trait of the obsessive structure is this horror of the passive position, and sometimes the most extravagant strategies to capture the active position, at least in the imagination, and a complete attitude of aggression to anything or anybody associated with the passive position.

Do you think it's also appropriate to take the concept of neurosis, which applied purely to individuals directly affected by specific events which it is posited were responsible for the development of said neuroses, and apply that to a whole 'people', i.e. the Irish?
Neurosis and a neurotic mental structure are not the same thing. We talk about neurosis when the neurotic structure has failed to overcome or accomodate trauma. Obviously, many Irish people are not afraid to accept the trauma of occupation, accept the nightmare we, as a nation, went through. The problem is that many Irish are simply unable to accept it, are unable to start the process of healing, and would rather let the wound fester under a plaster of silence.


Do you think it's possible to argue that individuals are neurotically obsessing about avoiding 'victimhood' when they did not experience themselves the traumas of Famine or slavery, indeed have no direct experience at all of such traumas and are seperated by a space of 150 years from such traumas?
As I said above the obsessive's problem is with the position of being the passive victim of the pleasure of another. As a nation, as a people, it is impossible to escape the legacy of eight hundred years of being a subject people. Of being looked down on and abused by our conqueror. Of loosing the ability to express ourselves in the words our ancestors forged over a period of at least two thousand years. Of having our thoughts moulded in the words of our imperial masters, impotent in the grip of his language. Our only legitimacy the legitimacy his language affords us, or that we may occasionally steal away from his words. We may look at the great masters of Hiberno English, but is there not, inevitably, something of the Irishman on the Anglo-Saxon stage about them?

How would you square that notion of suffering from a neurotic desire to avoid 'victimhood' because their ancestors suffered the pleasure of others from their pain, with a contemporary Ireland which if it's lacking in anything doesn't appear to be lacking in confidence and self-belief?
I think, WBS, there is still a huge lack of confidence in the people of this nation. Why do you think we call our housing estates with names like "Kempton" "Ashley Downs" "Eaton Park" etc. etc. The developers are not stupid - they are selling a dream that they know the Irish still want to dream.

Finally, do you think that your project of rifling through history for every event which saw horrors inflicted upon some or many Irish and calling for commemorations is something of a paradox given that you accuse others of being passivity and avoiding victimhood? Who is being obsessive in this instance?
I would have thought that genocide and slavery were colossal events that nobody would have to "rifle" through history to find. They are staring us in the face without ever looking at a history book. Commemoration is not really for the benefit of the dead - its for the benefit of those living with the loss. Look around our country and tell me that you cannot see loss that needs to be delt with or worked through.
 

badinage

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
776
Cael said:
I think, WBS, there is still a huge lack of confidence in the people of this nation. Why do you think we call our housing estates with names like "Kempton" "Ashley Downs" "Eaton Park" etc. etc. The developers are not stupid - they are selling a dream that they know the Irish still want to dream.
Are you saying Irish homeowners want to be English?

Or are you saying they want to be aristocracts/posh? (and as Ireland doesn't have an aristocracy, they seek to emulate the next best thing)

If its the latter, then doesn't that indicate confidence and high expectations (a desire for upward social mobility), rather than a lack of confidence?
 

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
badinage said:
Cael said:
I think, WBS, there is still a huge lack of confidence in the people of this nation. Why do you think we call our housing estates with names like "Kempton" "Ashley Downs" "Eaton Park" etc. etc. The developers are not stupid - they are selling a dream that they know the Irish still want to dream.
Are you saying Irish homeowners want to be English?

Or are you saying they want to be aristocracts/posh? (and as Ireland doesn't have an aristocracy, they seek to emulate the next best thing)

If its the latter, then doesn't that indicate confidence and high expectations (a desire for upward social mobility), rather than a lack of confidence?
I cant imagine how apeing another people can be a sign of confidence in yourself.
 

badinage

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
776
Cael said:
I cant imagine how apeing another people can be a sign of confidence in yourself.
You didn't answer my question. Are you saying Irish people want to be English, or are you saying they want to be posh (and they view names like "manor" and "downs" as posh, as they're reminiscent of English stately homes)?
 

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
badinage said:
Cael said:
I cant imagine how apeing another people can be a sign of confidence in yourself.
You didn't answer my question. Are you saying Irish people want to be English, or are you saying they want to be posh (and they view names like "manor" and "downs" as posh, as they're reminiscent of English stately homes)?

There is something of a conflict here. I dont say they want to be English - but they want the cultural legacy of being English. They would rather be associated with the ships and armies that plundered the globe than with the victims of that plunder. There is also ill effects of most Irish people being dependant on the English language for all their cultural reference points. Naturally, people dont want to speak or even hear (listen to the accents chosen to present commercial radio) a Hiberno offshore version of English when they can attempt to copy a south eastern English accent.
Listen to the way Palmerstown and Renalagh are being pronounced by some people these days.

The incongruence of having a housing estate called "Kempton" on the Navan road doesnt seem to bother them. You are, no doubt, correct when you say they want to be posh. If we take, for example, the Kempton housing estate on the Navan rd. They are smallish four bedroomed houses. Three reasonable bedrooms and a "boxroom". But anyone wanting to buy a house there wont get much back from a million euro when everything is payed. You would nearly think this fact would be enough to make them feel posh - but it seems not.
 

smiffy

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 11, 2004
Messages
1,279
Website
cedarlounge.wordpress.com
Cael said:
The incongruence of having a housing estate called "Kempton" on the Navan road doesnt seem to bother them. You are, no doubt, correct when you say they want to be posh. If we take, for example, the Kempton housing estate on the Navan rd. They are smallish four bedroomed houses. Three reasonable bedrooms and a "boxroom". But anyone wanting to buy a house there wont get much back from a million euro when everything is payed. You would nearly think this fact would be enough to make them feel posh - but it seems not.
So what should it be called?
 

Ponzi

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
58
Correct me if I'm misinterpreting what you are saying Cael; but I believe that you are suggesting that we should set aside one day a year, with the specific purpose of commemorating those effected by slavery, be they Irish or the victims of Irish slavers? Or are you suggesting that the commemoration be more broadly based encompassing all victims of slavery, regardless of their ethnicity or that of their en-slavers?
 

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
Ponzi said:
Correct me if I'm misinterpreting what you are saying Cael; but I believe that you are suggesting that we should set aside one day a year, with the specific purpose of commemorating those effected by slavery, be they Irish or the victims of Irish slavers? Or are you suggesting that the commemoration be more broadly based encompassing all victims of slavery, regardless of their ethnicity or that of their en-slavers?
Well I started this thread with the example of France's slavery memorial day. That seems to be a day for education on both the past and the present. Being Irish, of course we would have a particular focus on the Irish trauma of slavery. But as slavery is far from a thing of the past it would be an opportunity to join in the international campaign against slavery. As President Chirac pointed out in launching France's memorial day, slavery and racism are intimately linked. Slavery would be impossible without racism and, along with genocide, slavery is the logical conclusion of racism. Clearly a slavery memorial day would also be an anti-racism day.
 

Worldbystorm

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 6, 2005
Messages
321
Cael said:
From a Freudian point of view there are three mental structures: Neurotic, Perverse and Psychotic. What we call "normal" is a neurotic structure. The neurotic structure is broken into two groups: Hysteria and Obsessive. If you are "normal" you are a mixture of both with either Hysteria or Obsessive being the dominating trend. The defining trait of the obsessive structure is this horror of the passive position, and sometimes the most extravagant strategies to capture the active position, at least in the imagination, and a complete attitude of aggression to anything or anybody associated with the passive position.
No, I'm not asking for a definition of mental structures, I'm just curious as to why you think it's appropriate to be diagnosing people with neurosis? Or are you now saying that we're all more or less neurotic. If so, surely there are greater and lesser degrees and I'm curious as to why you think it's appropriate that you can diagnose this?
Neurosis and a neurotic mental structure are not the same thing. We talk about neurosis when the neurotic structure has failed to overcome or accomodate trauma. Obviously, many Irish people are not afraid to accept the trauma of occupation, accept the nightmare we, as a nation, went through. The problem is that many Irish are simply unable to accept it, are unable to start the process of healing, and would rather let the wound fester under a plaster of silence.
Sorry, I obviously didn't make myself clear, I'm trying to tease out why you think it's appropriate to apply concepts of neurosis which are very strictly seen in Freudian theory to apply to individuals to a people (a process not used by Freud). Why do you think that a methodology used on the psychological make-up of individuals is applicable to a people?
Is there, is there indeed? There's a lot of hypothesising here so I'll cut to the chase.

I'm still unsure as to how you can arrive at a mechanism that can convincingly suggest that a person not directly affected by a trauma can therefore be seen to 'suffer' from it. Let me put it a different way. Since you have no conscious or unconscious (I use the term in the sense you use it - this doesn't indicate that I agree with it) memory or experience of a time when Ireland was a 'Gaelic' nation, nor did you experience the transition from that situation to a largely English language Ireland how do you explain any sense of 'hurt' about it not being so? Are you in any position to be able to make any judgement about that, above and beyond objective assessments that those who actually lived through that period would naturally have felt a loss and a hurt - although some might not have.

More to the point, how could anything possibly make up for the shift from Gaelic to Anglicised. A reGaelicisation, even were it possible, would be effectively as 'psychologically' painful as the initial injury, so therefore you'd compound the hurt.


As I said above the obsessive's problem is with the position of being the passive victim of the pleasure of another. As a nation, as a people, it is impossible to escape the legacy of eight hundred years of being a subject people. Of being looked down on and abused by our conqueror. Of loosing the ability to express ourselves in the words our ancestors forged over a period of at least two thousand years. Of having our thoughts moulded in the words of our imperial masters, impotent in the grip of his language. Our only legitimacy the legitimacy his language affords us, or that we may occasionally steal away from his words. We may look at the great masters of Hiberno English, but is there not, inevitably, something of the Irishman on the Anglo-Saxon stage about them?
I think, WBS, there is still a huge lack of confidence in the people of this nation. Why do you think we call our housing estates with names like "Kempton" "Ashley Downs" "Eaton Park" etc. etc. The developers are not stupid - they are selling a dream that they know the Irish still want to dream.
That's a commercial and aesthetic decision on their part, one I find foolish because linking into a faux heritage is as bad as ignoring a real one - and there I hope we're in agreement because I too value Irish heritage and strongly believe that such developments and their names are crass. But it's hardly more than that, and I really don't think it reflects some innate confusion as to identity. Again, it's interesting you don't note the class dimension of that with the aspirant middle and upper middle classes being the one's who particularly 'buy' into this. So the dream isn't one of Englishness perhaps, anymore than 'parks' or 'downs' on US housing estates is English, it's a class thing. And it's also a commodification of housing for certain strata's of the society - although in fairness the difficulty in getting housing is such that I'm fairly willing to bet that people essentially will take what they can get - name or no name.


I would have thought that genocide and slavery were colossal events that nobody would have to "rifle" through history to find. They are staring us in the face without ever looking at a history book. Commemoration is not really for the benefit of the dead - its for the benefit of those living with the loss. Look around our country and tell me that you cannot see loss that needs to be delt with or worked through.
Well, perhaps, but in fairness you will have to agree at the very least that there is considerable academic dissension with your thesis that the Famine was a genocide. So you're making propositions as if they were accepted statements of fact.

To be honest I don't see a loss that needs to be dealt with in the way that you do. I'm particularly unsure how a commemoration, or series of commemorative events directd at the Irish people would be analogous to a sustained series of therapeutic sessions by a psychiatrist.
 

Cael

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 19, 2006
Messages
13,304
Worldbystorm said:
I'm not asking for a definition of mental structures, I'm just curious as to why you think it's appropriate to be diagnosing people with neurosis? Or are you now saying that we're all more or less neurotic. If so, surely there are greater and lesser degrees and I'm curious as to why you think it's appropriate that you can diagnose this?

Yes, what we call "normal" is a neurotic structure i.e. repression and isolation are the main mechanisms we use to deal with difficult situations or traumatic events. The massive avertion this individual (ive forgotten his name) showed towards the passive position is typical of an obsessive organisation and the overuse of isolation. I didnt say he suffered from obsessive neurosis.

Sorry, I obviously didn't make myself clear, I'm trying to tease out why you think it's appropriate to apply concepts of neurosis which are very strictly seen in Freudian theory to apply to individuals to a people (a process not used by Freud). Why do you think that a methodology used on the psychological make-up of individuals is applicable to a people?
Is there, is there indeed? There's a lot of hypothesising here so I'll cut to the chase.
Freud wrote quite a lot about group psychology. He went much farther than I am here. He traces the paradigm of the Oedipus Complex right back to a mythical murder of the primal father of the horde by his sons and the eating of his flesh. This, according to Freud, led to the mothers and sisters of the horde becoming forbidden to the sons and thus the inception of the taboo on incest. As it happens I wasnt applying the theory of obsessive structure to all Irish people - just certain individuals who constantly display it.


I'm still unsure as to how you can arrive at a mechanism that can convincingly suggest that a person not directly affected by a trauma can therefore be seen to 'suffer' from it. Let me put it a different way. Since you have no conscious or unconscious (I use the term in the sense you use it - this doesn't indicate that I agree with it) memory or experience of a time when Ireland was a 'Gaelic' nation, nor did you experience the transition from that situation to a largely English language Ireland how do you explain any sense of 'hurt' about it not being so? Are you in any position to be able to make any judgement about that, above and beyond objective assessments that those who actually lived through that period would naturally have felt a loss and a hurt - although some might not have.
I could give many answers to this. Maybe the best one is the one given by Joyce in the episode with the "tundish" in, I think, if my memory serves me right, Portrait of the Artist. He describes how the English language could never have the confidence in his mouth as in the mouth of the English visiting teacher. Its traumatic for any people to be condemned to this distance from the language they use as a mother tongue. As I said above, you only have to listen to the accents used in the commercial radio stations - particularly the news readers, its as if nobody could take the news seriously if it were read in an Irish accent.


More to the point, how could anything possibly make up for the shift from Gaelic to Anglicised. A reGaelicisation, even were it possible, would be effectively as 'psychologically' painful as the initial injury, so therefore you'd compound the hurt.
I think something is happening now which is quite healthy. More and more people are learning Irish, and other languages, and they begin to see language as relative. Another great thing is that people are using the bit of Irish they have learned and are not intimidated by the ideal of perfect fluency. As Pearse said, we want to speak Irish, not because there is anything wrong with English, but because it is our own Irish language.


That's a commercial and aesthetic decision on their part, one I find foolish because linking into a faux heritage is as bad as ignoring a real one - and there I hope we're in agreement because I too value Irish heritage and strongly believe that such developments and their names are crass. But it's hardly more than that, and I really don't think it reflects some innate confusion as to identity. Again, it's interesting you don't note the class dimension of that with the aspirant middle and upper middle classes being the one's who particularly 'buy' into this. So the dream isn't one of Englishness perhaps, anymore than 'parks' or 'downs' on US housing estates is English, it's a class thing. And it's also a commodification of housing for certain strata's of the society - although in fairness the difficulty in getting housing is such that I'm fairly willing to bet that people essentially will take what they can get - name or no name.
I think you are right in saying that people will buy into developements named in Irish. One of the most popular developments in Castleknock is called "Donn Rua". In regard to the USA, Im afraid they havent entirely gotten over their colonial relationship with the "mother country". Im afraid the Irish have a lot further to go in this than the Americans, but they have had a big head start its true.



To be honest I don't see a loss that needs to be dealt with in the way that you do. I'm particularly unsure how a commemoration, or series of commemorative events directd at the Irish people would be analogous to a sustained series of therapeutic sessions by a psychiatrist.
So are you saying that the modern Armenians dont feel any hurt or Jews born since the end of WW2?

Actually commemoration is quite analogous to the kind of remembering and working through that we find in the clinic.
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top