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Help: The Great Hunger

SINSULL 06 Jun 01 - 06:47 PM
SINSULL 06 Jun 01 - 06:47 PM
Chicken Charlie 06 Jun 01 - 09:10 PM
paddymac 07 Jun 01 - 01:29 AM
Les from Hull 07 Jun 01 - 05:39 AM
GUEST,..acedemic or ...political? 07 Jun 01 - 05:48 AM
Ringer 07 Jun 01 - 06:16 AM
InOBU 07 Jun 01 - 06:23 AM
Les from Hull 07 Jun 01 - 06:56 AM
SINSULL 07 Jun 01 - 07:35 AM
Roger in Sheffield 07 Jun 01 - 09:11 AM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 07 Jun 01 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Brían 07 Jun 01 - 07:11 PM
GUEST,Dear Mr Eagle .. 07 Jun 01 - 10:24 PM
toadfrog 07 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 08 Jun 01 - 12:20 AM
Brían 08 Jun 01 - 08:19 AM
Fiolar 08 Jun 01 - 01:25 PM
Grab 08 Jun 01 - 02:20 PM
SINSULL 08 Jun 01 - 03:22 PM
vectis 08 Jun 01 - 07:09 PM
paddymac 09 Jun 01 - 05:11 AM
Fiolar 09 Jun 01 - 06:34 AM
Brían 09 Jun 01 - 07:38 AM
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Subject: The Great Hunger
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 06:47 PM

I found this in a recent issue of New Yorker and wondered how many readers knew the history behind the story. Then found an online article re: DNA Testing which finally identifies the fungus behind the Great Famine. The coincidence and the diametrically opposed tellings of the tale intrigued me.


Quarantine


In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking - they were both walking - north.

She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.

In the morning they were both found dead>
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.

Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:

Their death together in the winter of 1847.
Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and a woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.


Wrong Culprit Blamed for Irish Potato Famine Reuters Jun 6 2001 2:10PM

LONDON (Reuters) - In a nifty piece of detective work American researchers have discovered that scientists have blamed the wrong culprit for the Irish potato famine that killed a million people and prompted mass emigration in the 1840s. DNA taken from leaves that had been preserved from the Irish famine showed no signs of the strain of the fungus-like organism scientists had thought caused the catastrophic crop failure that changed the course of history. Instead the DNA fingered three other strains of the pathogen Phytophthora infestans which had not even been considered. By identifying the real culprit researchers from North Carolina State University hope to develop better control methods to prevent future famines and grow sturdier plants to resist the pathogen. "The theory was that the 1b haplotype was the strain that had caused the famine but that work was all based on studies of modern, 20th century DNA from modern isolates (samples)," Dr. Jean Beagle Ristaino told Reuters. "We went back to the original cultures, or specimens, from the famine. Our work refutes the modern-day work," the plant pathologist and epidemiologist added. ORIGINAL LEAVES TELL DIFFERENT STORY Ristaino developed a diagnostic test using DNA, similar to DNA fingerprinting used to catch criminals. She and her team were the first to use potato leaf specimens dating from 1845-1847. Their findings, which are reported in the science journal Nature, not only point to a different strain of pathogen but question the accepted theory of where it came from. Scientists thought the pathogen had originated in Mexico but Ristaino and her colleagues believe the source was more likely to be South America. They are hoping that by studying the genetic type of the pathogen that occurred 150 years ago they will be able to identify the strain of the organism and its origin and understand how it evolved over time. That knowledge could be put to good use in prevent future epidemics and in breeding more resistant varieties of potato. "If we figure out where it came from. Potentially we could help target developing resistance in host plants," Ristaino explained. Apart from its historical significance, the research has important modern-day implications because the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine is still a threat in many countries in the developing world and new strains are resistant to pesticides. "Because of this disease more pesticides are applied to potatoes than any other food crop. It's a modern-day problem," said Ristaino. Potatoes are one of the world's leading food crops. The pathogen is currently harming potato crops in Russia and smaller infestations occur regularly in Mexico, Ireland, Ecuador and the United States. Nicholas Money, of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, described Ristaino's research as a "remarkable piece of molecular detective work." "The new findings mean that some ideas about the origin of historical plant disease epidemics will need to be re-evaluated," he said in a commentary in Nature.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: SINSULL
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 06:47 PM

Sorry - it was meant to be BS.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 06 Jun 01 - 09:10 PM

That's OK--I did a BS that wasn't, so the Great Cosmic Score is even.

But I'm disappointed; I thought you were going to say they matched the DNA with Hoffa or O'Hare. Apologies to all the prickly Italian-Irish atheist labor leaders who don't think that's funny.

CC


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: paddymac
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 01:29 AM

Without checking sources, seems like the last I had read on it, about five or so years ago, indicated that the infectious organism had originally come from Peruvian guano deposits, gotten into Canadian seed potatoes, and went to Ireland with the seed potatoes. This is great detective work, no doubt, but it is well to remember that there was never a day when Ireland didn't produce enough food to feed all of her people. The deaths, more recently estimated at between 2 & 3 million based on adjusted census figures, were the direct result of British government policies. That should never be forgotten.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Les from Hull
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 05:39 AM

I think you mean lack of policy. Direct result of policies = murder. Is that what you're saying?


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: GUEST,..acedemic or ...political?
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 05:48 AM

It happened, and attributing cause is purely acedemic except for preventing it happening again.

I note with some amazement the Mad Cow disease / Foot and Mouth outbreaks in similar times of great social change in Britain. Could the Famine have been seeded deliberately and could the current crisis be the work of similar forces opposed to changes now taking place in Western Europe?


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Ringer
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 06:16 AM

Yes, and Elvis is still alive and living on the moon.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: InOBU
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 06:23 AM

Dear friends, please read the many excellent and well researched books of my friend Dr, Cristeen Kinelly, University of Liverpool. She proves with out a doupt, that policies had been imployed in the past by the crown and by the same actors who did not use the same policies to relieve the 47 famine, and the conclusion is that there was a policy of allowing the famine to be an engine of land clearence in the same way troops were used for the Highland clearences. So, it is not a matter of seeding plague, it is a matter of exporting food when other countries the same year closed ports to food export, as England had done in the past. Ireland exported enough food to feed ALL those who starved or were forced to migrate. This was a crime against humanity, pure and simple.
England is not unique in crimes against humanity, all our nations have committed them. However, those nations that deny their past don't learn from their past.
All the best,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Les from Hull
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 06:56 AM

Don't get me wrong, the UK ruling classes were (mostly) complete bastards in those days. Unfortunately we've still got a lot of them about. And we only get the option of voting for another lot of self-seeking buggers - much like the rest of the world really!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: SINSULL
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 07:35 AM

There is a large contingent of people - some totally rational - who believe that the AIDS virus was deliberately set loose on the black population as a form of planned genocide.

The Irish did export enough grain to feed their starving population. But what was the alternative? Without the sale of crops, there would be no money to pay the rent for the following year's use of the land. Add to it that England's policies in Ireland prevented the development of capable leaders who might have taken charge and found ways to alleviate the problem. And other nations including the US turned away "plague ships" in an attempt to keep the disease (and the poverty) out.
As I remember it, the AIDS virus was a problem within the gay population in the States and got little attention until it attacked the straight population and it became apparent that the blood supply was tainted. Had it started out in white, middle class communities, do you think we would have a vaccine or cure today? Sorry for the rambling - it's early.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Roger in Sheffield
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 09:11 AM

link to C.Kinealy article on this page
another view
views of the famine

That the potato crop failed was a tragedy, that starving people were allowed to die because they had no money to buy food is terrible. To add insult to injury assistance was offered in the form of hard labour on road building schemes and other 'public works', just what you need on an empty belly. My country allowed this to happen and I am not proud of it
Neither am I proud that today people dying from aids die because they cannot afford the drugs they need - I think that recently big companies gave in to allow generic drugs to be sold in S.Africa? Unfortunately these generics will not be free and so the poor will still die without treatment
Last year I heard that GM crops will feed the world, but just as in Ireland if you haven't any money you can't buy food - so if we ever have enough food to feed the world do you really think the poor will get food for free - in your dreams

A couple of years ago in Ireland we drove along a road with a beautiful view of the sea and The burren hills, later I read that it had first been constructed as a famine 'public works' project, a scenic road from nowhere to nowhere, and many had died during its construction


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 10:53 AM

Beautiful poem. They could have been my ancestors. Speaking of AIDS, there is wonderful, unbelievable news on the horizon, that at least might delay its progress or help some people. I am not saying it is going to be found to be a cure-all, but plain old coconut is found to reduce the viral load quite a bit in cases of measles, herpes and AIDS. Research is ongoing right now. Check it out. Check out the research of Dr. Mary Enig, biochemist. It is believed to break the envelope of the virus. Wouldn't that be amazing if you could feed people and help cure them at the same time..of course you can with other foods, like lemon, garlic etc. I can't remember if I posted it here or not...but some people also swear by coconut macaroons (2 Archway brand) for cases of diarrhea or irritable bowel disease. I have wondered if something like Mounds bars or Almond Joy (coconut candies) would help. mg


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: GUEST,Brían
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 07:11 PM

I have been following this thread with great interest. It's usually a bad idea for me to get up on my soap box, but the Great Hunger is one of my hot buttons.

I am presently looking at a book titled The Irish Famine, A Documentary History by Noel Kissane published by Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann. It tells the story of the Famine throw images and articles from journals published during the famine as well as first hand accounts of the atrocities. I would agree that the story is complex. However, the crop failures themselves did not the cause the widespread death and forced immigration . It was bad policy. I'll be back with more when I have more time.

Brían.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: GUEST,Dear Mr Eagle ..
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 10:24 PM

I read today that anti EU agencies in the Island of Ireland obtained IR40,000 Pounds from an unknown source which it used to pay for its campain against the EU Referendum to allow the admission of several Eastern European countries to the EU.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland, Mr Bertie A'Hern, has informed the public that these funds came from a right wing religious group in the USA.

The opponents of the Referendum deny this and continue to resist enlargement of the EU.

Living in the USA I know what the right wing Pat Roberson, Bob Jones types etc think, and I must here add for our UK and ROI readers, these sentiments are indeed as Mr A'Hern correctly states - right wing Americans do NOT like the EU. They have a interpretation of the Bible which states that Revealtion points to the EU as one of terrors at the end of time - some kind of 10 horned beast. They have made Europe into a Devil, whcih children are taught at school! I know any reasonable Brit would never fall for this kind of BS, but this is not Britain!

In recent negtiations in eastern Europe I discovered to my utter horror that Bush had sent some of his best agents to eastern Europe to errrr help them errr reach an acceptable result ( to the USA ?? ) in a referndum there to decide the issue of joining or not joining the EU.

The activities of these Diplomats in Slovakia/Slovenia shows this very dangerous prejudice is now Untied Staes Foreign Policy!

We must never ever ever forget that in Japan at the end of World War 2 this civilised United States of America dropped not one but two Nuclear Bombs on civilian areas KNOWING the terrible civilian casualities that would result. When it comes to how far powefull nations will go there seems no end when their own wealth/power is at stake!


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: toadfrog
Date: 07 Jun 01 - 10:50 PM

It is interesting to note that the potato blight was not limited to Ireland. It struck also Germany, in particular Saxony and Silesia, and impelled a lot of Germans to emigrate. But it was not so horrible there as in Ireland. The Irish problem came in large part from the kind of "Economic" thinking that says, whatever the "market" does has to be right. This although the leading English economists of the time, John Stuart Mill and Nassau Senior, strenuously protested that the policy was wrong.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 12:20 AM

one interesting note that I believe is true..can't pinpoint the source...I believe it was the Seminole Indians who took up a collection for the starving Irish, even being in very bad circumstances themselves. mg


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Brían
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 08:19 AM

I can't find the source at this time, but I beleive it was the Choctaw indians.

I have been to Grosse Isle. I have seen the hospital where the sick were treated. I was able to take some pictures through the window as we were not allowed in at the time. There were archeologists working at the site,one of who was our guide. We wer shown a meadow which I was told held, I beleive 2,000 bodies. I was told The grave was only partially exposed and went back in either direction. If I could find my journal I could clarify it. Ther is a porch on one of the buildings which has a couples initials carved in old irish script. It was sobering to realise that some of my ancestors came in during that period under those conditions.

I have also seen famine graves in Ballymote, Co. Sligo. There coarse blocks of stone were laid on top of the graves. The townspeople said that people died in such great numbers that they couldn't afford to put carved stones above them. many intended to put stones above the graves but never did. We were told that families remembered the locations of the unmarked graves and returned there to place flowers decades later. supposedly there was a plan to expand the parish center above the famine graves, but such an outcry arose that the plan had to be abandoned.

Slán go fóill,
Brían


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Fiolar
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 01:25 PM

Regarding the poem - it may be based on an incident described in Father Peter O'Leary's book "Mo Sgeal Fein" (My Story). In a chapter he describes a man and wife who with their children were admitted to the workhouse. The children died and the parents out of their minds with grief left and visted the "grave" (in reality a hole where famine victims were thrown into). They then went back to their houme which had no heat and both were found dead in the morning. I'll search and give the exact report when I can find the book. Incidentally it was the Choctaw Indians who sent on the money and when Mary Robinson was the Irish president, she was made honorary chief during a visit to the States.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Grab
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 02:20 PM

Larry, no-one's denying what happened, or that it was terrible. Many landlords wouldn't help, and of those that did, the problem was just too severe for them to do more than stave off the problem for the first year or so. Without government intervention, there just weren't the resources to deal with it, and the government generally wasn't releasing money to help the lower classes. Remember, it also affected mainland Britain and most of Europe, just not as seriously as in Ireland.

As Les says, generally the ruling class then were a right bunch of bastards. The general principle was that non-aristos were inherently less valuable, pretty much subhuman, and it wasn't a big deal if they lived or died. You'd maybe do something to keep them alive (workhouses, etc) but quality of life wasn't an issue. And if there was a war, they died in their thousands. It wasn't until the massive waste of life in WWI that there was a shift in public opinion which made this unsustainable.

Interestingly, America almost did the same thing in the 20s and 30s. There was no shortage of food, it was rotting in place, it just wasn't being distributed to the ppl who needed it. In this case it took tough government intervention (the New Deal) to sort things out.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: SINSULL
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 03:22 PM

"God bless the child that's got his own..."


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: vectis
Date: 08 Jun 01 - 07:09 PM

There is a great song by The Wolfetones about "The Great Hunger" which is a good singers song.
At the time of the famine in Ireland there was a widespread famine in England which is not usually publicised. Public relief programmes stopped a lot of the deaths but it was a close run thing in many areas.
My Irish family raise the fare to South Africa for one member so that the family name would survive even if all those remaining in Ireland died.
A tough time I'm glad I never had to face.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: paddymac
Date: 09 Jun 01 - 05:11 AM

As noted, the Choctaw people, then recently "removed" from their homelands in Mississippi to Oklahoma, are credited with the donations to help the Irish, but several other tribal groups, including the Creeks and Seminoles, also contributed. Similarly, many communities throughout the country, but especially in areas where there were some number of immigrants and their descendants from the celtic isles, also raised money for famine relief. It is also true that the British government imposed a blockade on Ireland, preventing direct landing of several shiploads of "Indian corn".


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Fiolar
Date: 09 Jun 01 - 06:34 AM

To Sinsull. As promised here is the extract from Fr. O'Leary's book. The English might sound strange, but it is translated directly from the Irish. Everytime I read this particular chapter, I feel like crying. The family's name was Buckley by the way. "The famine came. Sheila and her father and mother and little Diarmuid had to go down to Macroom into the poorhouse. No sooner were they inside than they were all separated from each other. The father was put among the men. The mother was put among the women. Sheila was put among the small girls. Diarmuid was put among the very young children. The whole house and all the poor people in it were infected with every kind of evil sickness. The people, almost as fast as they came in, falling down with a malady and, God save the hearers, dying as fast as the fever came on them. There was not room for half of them in the house. The number that would not be able to get in could only go and lay themselves on the bank of the river, on the lower side of the bridge. You would see them there every morning, after the night was over, stretched out in rows, some stirring, some quiet enough without any stir at all out of them. In a while, certain men would come, take those who were not stirring and put them into trucks. They would take them to a place beside Carrigastyra, where a large, wide, deep hole had been opened for them and they would put them into the hole together. The same thing would be done with those who had died in the house after the night. It was not too long after their going in and after his separation from his mother, that little Diarmuid died. The small body was thrown into the truck and it was taken to the big hole where it was thrown in with the others. But it was all the same to the child; his soul was in the presence of God long before his body was in the hole. It was not long before Sheila followed little Diarmuid. Her young body went into the hole, but her soul went up to where little Diarmuid was, in the presence of God, in the joy of Heaven, where she had joy and the company of the saints and the angels and the companionship of the Blessed Virgin and conversation which was far better than "Peter's English and Seanin-Philip's English." The father and mother were asking and questioning as often as possible about Sheila and little Diarmuid. The two children were not long dead, when they heard about it. All the poor people had Irish. The superiors didn't have it or if they did, it was only badly. The poor people were able to get word to each other without the knowledge of the superiors. As soon as the parents discovered that the two children had died such a sorrow and a loneliness came on them that they could not stay in the place. They were separated they managed to get word to each other. They decided to leave. Cait was the wife's name. Patrick left first. He waited at the top of the road for Cait. Shortly he saw her coming, but she was walking very slowly. She was sick. They went on up to Carraigastyra. They came to the place where the big hole was. They knew that the bodies of the children were down in the hole amongst the other hundreds of corpses. They stood by the hole and cried their fill. Up on Derryleigh, to the east of Cahareen, was the cabin where they had lived before going into the poorhouse. They left the big hole and started northwest for Derryleigh where the cabin was. The place was six miles distance and the night was coming, but they pushed on. They were hungry and Cait was sick. They had to walk very slowly. When they had a couple of miles done, Cait had to stop. She was not able to go any farther. They met a neighbour. They were given a little food and drink, but no one would give them shelter as they had only just come from the poorhouse and the woman was sick. Patrick only lifted the woman on his back and carried on northwest to the cabin. The poor man himself was very weak. It would have been hard enough for him to make the journey on his own, never mind the load. With the load, he had to stop frequently and put the burden down for a while. But however tired he was, he continued on. He did not leave the burden. He reached the cabin. The cabin was cold and empty before him, with fire or heat. The following morning a certain neighbour came to the cabin. He went in. He saw the couple inside and they were both dead and the woman's feet inside Patrick's breast as if he had been trying to warm them. Apparently he had felt the weakness of death coming on Cait and her feet cold and he put the feet into his own bosom to take the cold from them." It would seem that the poem may have been based on that incident.


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Subject: RE: Help: The Great Hunger
From: Brían
Date: 09 Jun 01 - 07:38 AM

Good man, Fiolar. I'm misting up myself. One can talk statistics all day, but one story tells it all, the nature of how desperate they were before they got to the poorhouse, the cruelty of seperation. It was all a means test to see make the sick and dying prove how much in need of help. Of course the confines of the workhouse put them in contact with infection.

Brían


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