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 The People with the Saddest History in Europe

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PostSubject: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:46 pm

Squire wrote:
It would be hard to think of a European country with a worse history than Poland in the last 500 years. Somewhere like Armenia, perhaps parts of the Balkans?

Ireland's population was wiped out by the Famine due to British negligence, we were repeatedly invaded by them, they did their best to destroy our language, they victimised us in their country and we suffered for almost eight centuries under their cosh. We have only truly recovered from this appalling abuse in very latter years. Our history is just as sad as that of Poland.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:12 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Squire wrote:
It would be hard to think of a European country with a worse history than Poland in the last 500 years. Somewhere like Armenia, perhaps parts of the Balkans?

Ireland's population was wiped out by the Famine due to British negligence, we were repeatedly invaded by them, they did their best to destroy our language, they victimised us in their country and we suffered for almost eight centuries under their cosh. We have only truly recovered from this appalling abuse in very latter years. Our history is just as sad as that of Poland.

How many countries have half the population they had a hundred and fifty years ago?
The tragedy of Ireland is on truley epic proportions. And so is their capacity to forgive and make up with thier former persecutor.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:14 pm

Respvblica wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Squire wrote:
It would be hard to think of a European country with a worse history than Poland in the last 500 years. Somewhere like Armenia, perhaps parts of the Balkans?

Ireland's population was wiped out by the Famine due to British negligence, we were repeatedly invaded by them, they did their best to destroy our language, they victimised us in their country and we suffered for almost eight centuries under their cosh. We have only truly recovered from this appalling abuse in very latter years. Our history is just as sad as that of Poland.

How many countries have half the population they had a hundred and fifty years ago?
The tragedy of Ireland is on truley epic proportions. And so is their capacity to forgive and make up with thier former persecutor.

Exactly Rexpvblica, it is not exactly stretching it to describe our history as the saddest of Europe.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:18 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Squire wrote:
It would be hard to think of a European country with a worse history than Poland in the last 500 years. Somewhere like Armenia, perhaps parts of the Balkans?

Ireland's population was wiped out by the Famine due to British negligence, we were repeatedly invaded by them, they did their best to destroy our language, they victimised us in their country and we suffered for almost eight centuries under their cosh. We have only truly recovered from this appalling abuse in very latter years. Our history is just as sad as that of Poland.

How many countries have half the population they had a hundred and fifty years ago?
The tragedy of Ireland is on truley epic proportions. And so is their capacity to forgive and make up with thier former persecutor.

Exactly Rexpvblica, it is not exactly stretching it to describe our history as the saddest of Europe.

Yeah, you know the extermination opf the people was one thing. But the extermination of the culture and the language was another. Probably the worst since the wipe out of Gaulish culture 2000 years ago.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:01 pm

Squire wrote:
It would be hard to think of a European country with a worse history than Poland in the last 500 years. Somewhere like Armenia, perhaps parts of the Balkans?

Not a European country but how about the Romany gypsies. Internationally I`d say the bould native American.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:18 pm

anmajornarthainig wrote:
Squire wrote:
It would be hard to think of a European country with a worse history than Poland in the last 500 years. Somewhere like Armenia, perhaps parts of the Balkans?

Not a European country but how about the Romany gypsies. Internationally I`d say the bould native American.

Neanderthal man got a pretty bad deal of it too.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:19 pm

I'm going to split this into a separate thread, if no one objects
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sat Nov 01, 2008 7:43 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Respvblica wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
Squire wrote:
It would be hard to think of a European country with a worse history than Poland in the last 500 years. Somewhere like Armenia, perhaps parts of the Balkans?

Ireland's population was wiped out by the Famine due to British negligence, we were repeatedly invaded by them, they did their best to destroy our language, they victimised us in their country and we suffered for almost eight centuries under their cosh. We have only truly recovered from this appalling abuse in very latter years. Our history is just as sad as that of Poland.

How many countries have half the population they had a hundred and fifty years ago?
The tragedy of Ireland is on truley epic proportions. And so is their capacity to forgive and make up with thier former persecutor.

Exactly Rexpvblica, it is not exactly stretching it to describe our history as the saddest of Europe.

Indeed, the German Ambassador, Herr Paul, made that very point in a controversial and, to my mind, much-misunderstood speech to German businessmen in Clontarf not so long ago.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sat Nov 01, 2008 8:22 pm

Few nations have suffered the way the Gaelic Irish suffered. Not all those who are Irish are of Gaelic Irish extraction though. The Irish as a whole have suffered as well. We`re an interesting people though. Are we unique in that our right wingers (a large element within Fine Gael and old money etc.) despise advanced Irish nationalism and that people who pride themselves on being liberal are hugely sympathetic to the army of an Imperialist nation? Is there any other country like that?
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 12:45 am

The saddest European nation surely has to be the Visigoths, who wandered Europe for hundreds of years without every getting territory of their own, before finally settling, for a short period before obliteration, in North Africa.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:46 am

anmajornarthainig wrote:
Few nations have suffered the way the Gaelic Irish suffered. Not all those who are Irish are of Gaelic Irish extraction though. The Irish as a whole have suffered as well. We`re an interesting people though. Are we unique in that our right wingers (a large element within Fine Gael and old money etc.) despise advanced Irish nationalism and that people who pride themselves on being liberal are hugely sympathetic to the army of an Imperialist nation? Is there any other country like that?

I don't know, but I think you might need to look at other post-colonial countries to find something similar.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 1:54 am

I`d say you`re right that that is the only place in which you`d see something similar Cactus. I can`t think of any other western country that has something similar. The nearest European examplem I can think of is the support for neo-nazism in countries like Poland and Russia. Talk about an inferiority complex, loving the ideology that regarded them as inferior and wiped out millions of them.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:43 am

anmajornarthainig wrote:
I`d say you`re right that that is the only place in which you`d see something similar Cactus. I can`t think of any other western country that has something similar. The nearest European examplem I can think of is the support for neo-nazism in countries like Poland and Russia. Talk about an inferiority complex, loving the ideology that regarded them as inferior and wiped out millions of them.

Is there really much sympathy for them? Is it not a really small minority? I would guess it is in the limited circles where people have ongoing inter-state contacts that the edges soften and loyalties are confused. Although I admit a lot of people are surprisingly willing to let the British Royals under the radar. There was a discussion on P.ie a while back and I think I was in a very small minority in thinking that we shouldn't have them here, and I often find Republicans have a far milder view of the British government and state than I personally think is realistic. The strategy underlying the hunger strikes imo involved that miscalculation: some of the people involved still think that Thatcher would have backed down if it wasn't for some kind of civil servants cabal.
Look at the way they are dealing with Iceland, or the way the dealt with the Falklands/Malvinas: these people are hard nuts.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 2:37 pm

It would be a small minority in those countries that would be neo-nazis. It doesn`t make it any less strange though. Regarding the British our position and attitude regarding them is complicated by four issues. The four factors would be these, in my opinion:

1. The fact that we speak English and have easy access to the British media have allowed a steady drip-effect of material that would be classified as propaganda if it had been produced at the behest of a dictator.

2. The fact that the British have long been winners: that always will attract people.

3. The fact that many of the people who are prominent in our society and in our media are descended from people who did very well under the British thank you very much. Conversely advanced nationalists were forced repeatedly to emigrate, were broken by jail time etc.

4. The fact that the British, for all the negative things, have contributed immensely to the world. It would be hard to build or to retain hatred for a country that`s given the world Hitchcock, association football, the Beatles, the telly etc.


(Incidentally I wouldn`t be particularly bothered by members of the Royal Family coming here. What really gets my goat is the worshiping of the British Army here and it`s normalisation as an alternative career choice for Irish soldiers in a way that doesn`t happen for any other army. A a rule of thumb can you ever remember Kevin Myers writing and worrying about Irish people in the American Army the way he does about those in the British Army? This hero-worship manifests in the faux concern for those who have fallen on hard times that we see in the wearing of the red poppy)
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:09 pm

anmajornarthainig wrote:
It would be a small minority in those countries that would be neo-nazis. It doesn`t make it any less strange though. Regarding the British our position and attitude regarding them is complicated by four issues. The four factors would be these, in my opinion:

1. The fact that we speak English and have easy access to the British media have allowed a steady drip-effect of material that would be classified as propaganda if it had been produced at the behest of a dictator.

2. The fact that the British have long been winners: that always will attract people.

3. The fact that many of the people who are prominent in our society and in our media are descended from people who did very well under the British thank you very much. Conversely advanced nationalists were forced repeatedly to emigrate, were broken by jail time etc.

4. The fact that the British, for all the negative things, have contributed immensely to the world. It would be hard to build or to retain hatred for a country that`s given the world Hitchcock, association football, the Beatles, the telly etc.


(Incidentally I wouldn`t be particularly bothered by members of the Royal Family coming here. What really gets my goat is the worshiping of the British Army here and it`s normalisation as an alternative career choice for Irish soldiers in a way that doesn`t happen for any other army. A a rule of thumb can you ever remember Kevin Myers writing and worrying about Irish people in the American Army the way he does about those in the British Army? This hero-worship manifests in the faux concern for those who have fallen on hard times that we see in the wearing of the red poppy)

I would agree with your list but would add fear to it. Irish Taoisigh have over the years had their heads ripped off by British Prime Ministers. There is an implicit threat in the economic and military inequality between the two neighbours. Their secret services are allowed to operate here at will.

The Queen is the Head of the British Armed Forces: only the queen or king can declare war. The British Royal Family are inextricably involved in the Armed Forces and all the males have been or are serving members of the UK military forces. http://www.royalinsight.gov.uk/output/Page4698.asp
Every time they are here I'm quite sure that they are eyeing us up, waiting for the Euro to fail and for an early collapse to our unfortunate experiment in independent republicanism. I agree that west-britism is alive and well in the press. The Irish Times imo is degrading itself as a newspaper with publication of fluff promo pieces by both the British and Irish army under the guise of editorial.

As a small country with an open economy, and two major trading partners that are very, very much more powerful than ourselves and as part of a trading bloc in which we are also relatively powerless, I think to be honest it is amazing the extent to which we have got political and cultural independence.

The loss of language has enabled Ireland to exert more cultural influence, but in a less visible way. A mixed blessing.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:44 pm

Ireland definitely is a contender for the title of the Country with the Saddest History in Europe. We could have had 20 million compatriots by now had it not been for the ravages and depradations of the Famine. Add in the eight centuries of oppression which exceeds the length of colonisation of virtually any other colonised nation and the overt campaign to destroy our culture and you have quite a litany of horror unlike that of many other countries.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:50 pm

I'd point out that the Breton region of France is reckoned to have lost a quater of it's male population during the first world war. That's an eighth of its population, and the more stridently Breton-speaking population at that.

I dislike the name of this thread as it excludes the Bretons, along with other unfortunates such as the Jews and the Kurds.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:02 pm

905 wrote:
I'd point out that the Breton region of France is reckoned to have lost a quater of it's male population during the first world war. That's an eighth of its population, and the more stridently Breton-speaking population at that.

I dislike the name of this thread as it excludes the Bretons, along with other unfortunates such as the Jews and the Kurds.

I suppose I was off-topic in talking about the Visigoths.

How would you suggest the thread should be named?
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:36 pm

Don't tempt me, you know I love the whole question of identity. I suppose the 'People with the saddest history' might do; if you want to be completely free from accusation of bias you would use a term like 'self-ascribed-idenity-group' (and even that might exclude Jewish people).

But quite frankly, if you have a country you're not doing too bad really. It's the 'people' who don't have countries I'm worried about.

I suppose I shall have to be the revisionist here and point out that Britain has not being trying to wipe out Irish culture for eight hundred years. Irish culture as we now it doesn't go that far back for one thing. Secondly, really outrageous advances on 'Irish culture' were mainly restricted to the Elisabithean (sp?) period. Before that all we had were the Statutes of Kilkenny (written in French and containing a few words of Irish itself) which was pretty nasty but more a reaction to the increasing dominance of contemporary Irish culture at that time. And after Ireland settled down, culture was generally tolerated. Were the various Irish language revival movements ever outlawed? Daniel O'Connell was more of a culture hater than the British. The same thing happened in Scotland, when the Scots were belligerant the kilt etc was banned, when they were docile the Royals spent half their time at Balmoral.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:43 pm

905 wrote:
Don't tempt me, you know I love the whole question of identity. I suppose the 'People with the saddest history' might do; if you want to be completely free from accusation of bias you would use a term like 'self-ascribed-idenity-group' (and even that might exclude Jewish people).

But quite frankly, if you have a country you're not doing too bad really. It's the 'people' who don't have countries I'm worried about.

I suppose I shall have to be the revisionist here and point out that Britain has not being trying to wipe out Irish culture for eight hundred years. Irish culture as we now it doesn't go that far back for one thing. Secondly, really outrageous advances on 'Irish culture' were mainly restricted to the Elisabithean (sp?) period. Before that all we had were the Statutes of Kilkenny (written in French and containing a few words of Irish itself) which was pretty nasty but more a reaction to the increasing dominance of contemporary Irish culture at that time. And after Ireland settled down, culture was generally tolerated. Were the various Irish language revival movements ever outlawed? Daniel O'Connell was more of a culture hater than the British. The same thing happened in Scotland, when the Scots were belligerant the kilt etc was banned, when they were docile the Royals spent half their time at Balmoral.

The biggest cultural blow I think was the establishment of the National Schools as English only schools.
In Wales, there was the Welsh Not, a nasty whip which was taken to children who used their mother tongue. That doesnt seem to have put them off using it.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:56 pm

Ireland had a similar system but the important thing to remember is that it was the parents who insisted on an English education. There's no point in banging on about colonial imperialism when the drive for change comes from below.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:06 pm

The destruction of the Gaelic elite in the sixteenth and seventeenth century is what led to the loss of language generations later. No colonialism=no language shift. British policy in the eighteenth and nineteenth century also weakened the language, not as the result of a deliberate policy but as a side-effect. The destruction of various industries, for instance, was always going to lead to a reaction of some kind. In this case we turned it inwards against ourselves.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:28 pm

Good point about the Gaelic elite, though it was a political rather than a cultural policy and any effect on the language was second priority at most (I'm grasping at straws here).

The unintentional effects of colonialism are many, but to say that the destructiopn of the language can be put down to ecoes of coloniaol policy is to deprive the commonn people of Ireland of any agency, render them victims or children of fate. I'm aware that there are many downfalls to insisting that people have some agency in their fate but it can't be ignored either.
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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:54 pm

Can't get them online, but there are very dramatic CSO maps that suggest a strong correlation between the introduction of the english speaking National School system in 1835 with the decline of spoken Irish.

This is from a fascinating short account of the end of the hedge schools and the introduction of the National Schools. http://www.estudiosirlandeses.org/Issue1/YolandaFern%C3%A1ndez.htm

It is not focused on language as an issue but it says this:

"Catholic leaders, however, saw hedge schools and their masters in a rather different light. Thus, Dr. Doyle, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, supported the concept of mixed education, among other reasons, because it would mean the end of the hedge-school system, an opinion openly expressed in a letter to the priests of his diocese in 1831:

[The Roman Catholic bishops] welcomed the rule which requires that all the teachers henceforth to be employed be provided from some Model School, with a certificate of their competency, that will aid us in a work of great difficulty, to wit, that of suppressing hedge schools, and placing youths under the direction of competent teachers, and of those only (Hyland & Milne 1987: 108).

So, generally speaking, the Catholic clergy favoured the system during the first decades and one of their archbishops, Daniel Murray of Dublin, was a Commissioner of national education from 1831 until 1851. It was only John MacHale, Archbishop of Tuam, who vetoed it. He was a passionate nationalist and defender of the Irish language so he fought against the settlement of any national school in his area because there was no provision of Irish and everything was taught through the medium of English (Daly 1979: 151).

Hedge schools taught children in Greek and Latin, as well as Irish. Catholic priests did not seem to be in support of them. Any suggestions why?

The last of the hedge schools?

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PostSubject: Re: The People with the Saddest History in Europe   Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:09 pm

Hedge schools taught on demand, and that often meant English. The Catholic church had a lot of influence over national schools, so it's no wonder they opposed the private alternative. Maybe they also thought a qualified teacher was better.

The Catholic church has quite a bad repuatation when considering the language. Gaelic was associated with Protestantism for one thing (all that emphasis on vernacular languages). Maynooth taught very little Irish through most of the nineteenth century.

The Church is often linked with schools and Daniel O'Connell as the villains in the demise of the language. The people are often forgotten.
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