Ireland's 19th century Great Famine: two million dead, a language and culture all but exterminated, but hey at least in the 21st century we got some low-paying jobs and Sky Sports out of it!
Ireland’s 19th century Great Famine: two million dead, a language and culture all but exterminated, but hey at least in the 21st century we got some low-paying jobs and Sky Sports out of it!

Just when I thought I had reached a stage where it was no longer possible to be made irate by the philistine barbarity of thought that passes for some people’s opinions here comes this from Edward Brynn, a senior former United States diplomat, via an article by GSA Business:

“Ireland’s emergence as a high-tech hub in the late 20th century came about because of a decision by Catholic bishops more than 175 years ago, said a former U.S. ambassador and Irish history expert Wednesday night in Charleston.

Edward Brynn, a former foreign service officer who served as a U.S. ambassador to six African nations, told the World Affairs Council of Charleston that Irish bishops’ decision in the 19th century to teach English instead of Gaelic was pivotal in paving the way for the country’s economic prosperity.

Ireland came out of the second World War with several desirable economic assets, he said, including a well-educated, English-speaking workforce that wasn’t expecting to be paid a lot.

“In 1836, the British Parliament, exasperated and overwhelmed by times of troubles in Ireland, passed legislation that placed in the hands of the religious leaders in Ireland full control of education,” Brynn said.

“They mandated that all education of Irish-Catholic children would take place in English,” he said. “They laid out a manifesto at the end of 1836 that ‘God speaks English. All Irish children will be raised speaking English.’”

Brynn said the global recession that began in 2008 has hammered the Irish economy, and a lot of the economic gains have been lost as leaders struggle to turn the economy around. But Ireland’s position as a high-tech capital that began in the 1970s could help the country weather the recent issues, he said.”

Can I believe what I am reading or have I fallen into some amoral, de-humanised alternative universe? Is someone actually suggesting that Ireland’s centuries-long experience of colonial invasion, occupation, annexation, deportation and extermination was ok because we ended up with an economy based upon a servile English-speaking workforce?

Jesus H. Christ! What next? The slaughter of six million men, women and children in the Holocaust was a good thing because it led to the creation of the state of Israel? Slavery in the United States was good thing because it gave us rap-music and baggy jeans? World War II was a good thing because it led to Germany’s economic prosperity and political hegemony in the European Union.

Maybe we should erect some monuments to the millions of indigenous Irish-speakers who perished down through the centuries in war, pestilence and famine until ultimately their linguistic and cultural descendants were rendered a powerless minority on their own island nation?

Oh yes, we have them already. They are called emigration queues.

4 comments on “Even Genocide Has An Upside!

  1. So I guess you’re a glass-half-empty sort, eh? Can’t see the bright side in famine, widespread death, ethnic cleansing and centuries of brutish oppression? Stand aside so the rest of us can sell our birthrights for a mess of pottage.

  2. And if the US and Canadian states hadn’t given full control of the ‘education’ of Indigenous peoples to religious leaders, they wouldn’t have been able to beat and rape the indigenous languages out of them either. And then where would we all be? Speaking our own languages in our own homes with our own cultures intact….without iPods!? Ungrateful savages!

  3. Commentator

    “World War II was a good thing because it led to Germany’s economic prosperity and political hegemony in the European Union. ” It didn’t really *lead* to that though, did it? 😉 It was an unexpected outcome of the post-war period, caused by the hard work and sacrifice of millions of Germans, especially the so-called “Rubble women”. Have a look at the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Truemmerfrauen

  4. Honestly the piece you quote doesn’t seem logical. Normally, when some disaster reduces a population but leaves the infrastructure largely undamaged (the Black Death, WWI in the UK) the result is an increase in the value of the remaining workforce, so wages rise and at the same time it begins to make sense to invest in labour-saving technologies. Everyone who survives should inheret a larger share of of resources, land, housing, capital equipment etc. So where does the idea of cheap Irish labour come from. Also I don’t really see how speaking Irish has anything to do with it. Not speaking English, possibly, but why not have both, many other countries do. Switzerland has plenty of high-tech doesn’t it, and a high standard of living, and more languages than you can shake a stick at. The man’s an idiot, wonder what his brief was?

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